In vitro suppression of pathogenic fungi by Streptomyces spp.
The use of living organisms or natural enemies of pathogens to control their populations is called biological disease control. It involves harnessing and introduction of exotic species of microorganism in a natural form, with the intention of controlling pathogens that may exist naturally in the same ecosystem. Prospects for biological control of Aspergillus flavus, Fusarium oxysporum and Penicillium italicum were investigated using Streptomyces spp. isolated from Chinhoyi University of Technology Farm soils in Mashonaland West, Zimbabwe. Twenty seven Streptomyces spp were obtained from the soil, and screened for antimicrobial activity and antagonism in in vitro pathogen inhibition assays, replicated thrice. Although majority of the isolates tested elicited no effect on test pathogens, 22% of the Streptomyces isolates were able to effectively suppress A. flavus, F. oxysporum and P. italicum by at least 55%. There was a significant interaction between Streptomyces isolates and pathogen (A. flavus, F. oxysporum and P. italicum) (P<0.05) on fungal radial growth at days 7, 10 and 14 after pathogen-Streptomyces incubation. Antimicrobial potential against individual and multiple test pathogens was observed, with CUT-Streptomyces 4, CUT-Streptomyces 10, CUT-Streptomyces 11, CUT-Streptomyces 20 and CUT-Streptomyces 23 showing the greatest antimicrobial activity. CUT-Streptomyces isolates have the potential to suppress A. flavus, F. oxysporum and P. italicum in vitro.
Key words: Aspergillus flavus, Fusarium oxysporum, Penicillium italicum