Evaluation of bacteria for biological control of early blightdisease of tomato
Twenty three bacterial isolate out of 190, exhibiting inhibitory affects against Alternaria solani in preliminary tests, were screened for their activity towards A. solani Ell. and G. Martin) Sor. by a dualculture in vitro assay on nutrient agar (NA) medium and in vivo (whole plant) test. In vitro studies indicated that all the 23 bacterial isolates inhibited the mycelial growth of A. solani by forming inhibition zone ranging from 9.35 to 31.3 mm. The most effective isolate was Serratia plymuthica (IK- 139) (31.3 mm) based on the in vitro test results. Twenty three bacterial isolates were subjected to a whole plant test to investigate their ability to protect the tomato plant against early blight disease. In whole plant tests, 0.5 x 108 cfu/ml bacterial suspension was sprayed and one day later, A. solani spores suspension were applied on tomato seedlings and plants were incubated in moist chamber at 20°C with 95% relative humidity (RH) and 12 h photoperiods for 21 days. Based on the whole plant tests, Paenibacillus macerans-GC subgroup A (1.82), Serratia plymuthica (1.78), Bacillus coagulans (1.75), Serratia marcescens-GC subgroup A (1.50), Bacillus pumilis –GC subgroup B (1.50) and Pantoea agglomerans (1.32) bacterial isolates reduced the disease severity of early blight significantly when compared with control. These results suggest that the bacterial isolates studied have a good potential to be used as biocontrol agents of A. solani in tomato.
Key words: Alternaria solani, early blight, biological control, bacterial isolate.