Characterization and evaluation of Bacillus isolates for their potential plant growth and biocontrol activities against tomato bacterial wilt
About 200 Bacillus isolates were isolated from tomato and potato rhizosphere and examined for their antagonistic activities against Ralstonia solanacearum T-91, the causal agent of tomato bacterial wilt (TBW), in vitro and in vivo. Four strains, AM1, D16, D29 and H8, have shown high potential of antagonistic activity against the pathogen in laboratory and greenhouse experiments. In greenhouse, 81.1 to 89.0% reduction of disease incidence of TBW was recorded in treated tomato plants with 4 isolates, which also significantly (p > 0.05) increased plant height by 22.7 to 43.7% and dry weight by 47.93 to 91.55% compared with non-treated control. 16SrRNA gene sequence, the biochemical and physiological tests and fatty acid methyl esters analysis assigned strains AM1 and D29 as Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, while strains D16 and H8 as Bacillus subtilis and B. methylotrophicus, respectively. In addition, the 4 strains showed ability to inhibit growth of the three soil-borne fungi, produce indole-3- acetic acid, siderophores and also with exception of strain D16, the other 3 strains were capable of solubilizing phosphate. Therefore, these results suggest that out of 200 isolates, Bacillus stains AM1, D16, D29 and H8 support good antagonistic activity and could be applied as biocontrol agents against TBW under greenhouse conditions beside their potential to promote tomato plants growth.
Key words: Tomato, Ralstonia solanacearum, Bacillus spp, biological control, plant growth promotion activities