Biological control against bacterial wilt and colonization of mulberry by an endophytic Bacillus subtilis strain

Xianling Ji, Guobing Lu, Yingping Gai, Chengchao Zheng, Zhimei Mu
FEMS Microbiology Ecology 2008, 65 (3): 565-73
Forty-five bacterial isolates were collected from surface-sterilized leaves of mulberry (Morus alba L.). By screening their antagonistic activities against Ralstonia solanacearum in vitro, four isolates showed a remarkable inhibitory effect. The evaluation of the antagonistic strains against bacterial wilt of mulberry indicated that the strain Lu144 effectively reduced disease incidence. In the greenhouse, Lu144 displayed effective biological control against bacterial wilt of mulberry when it was applied to sterile or nonsterile soil before the infection by the pathogen. Based on bacteriological properties and 16S rRNA gene sequencing, Lu144 was identified as a strain of Bacillus subtilis. The endophytic population and infection process of Lu144 in mulberry seedlings was explored following recovery of the green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled Lu144 and examination of the labeled strain by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Interestingly, the infection of GFP-labeled Lu144 cells into the mulberry seedlings occurred through the cracks formed at the lateral root junctions and the zone of differentiation and elongation, and the cells were able to develop and transfer in mulberry and mainly in the intercellular spaces of different tissues. The population of the GFP-labeled Lu144 inoculant was larger and more stable in leaves than that in roots and stems.

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