Induction of resistance in cucumber against seedling damping-off by plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) Bacillus megaterium strain L8
Bacillus megaterium L8, a plant growth-promoting rhizobacterium (PGPR), was isolated and evaluated for its ability to induce resistance in cucumber against seedling damping-off caused by Pythium aphanidermatum. Root-splitting challenge experiments showed that L8 treatment of cucumber roots more effectively suppressed seedling damping-off than did the control as judged by seedling survival rate (83.45 versus 31.68% at 28 days), indicating that strain L8 is capable of inducing systemic disease resistance in cucumber. To explore the potential mechanism underlying the induced systemic resistance (ISR) mediated by L8, the expression profile of several plant defense-related enzymes: superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) were monitored in the roots treated with L8 or P. aphanidermatum and untreated leaves in a time course of 13 days. Levels of SOD, POD, CAT, PPO and PAL activities in the treated roots and untreated leaves of cucumber seedlings were all significantly higher as compared with the control and respectively peaked in the roots at 3, 3, 5, 5 and 5 days and correspondingly in the leaves at 5, 3, 5, 5 and 5 days post-inoculation. The enhanced expression patterns of the above enzymes following L8 or P. aphanidermatum treatment suggested that systemic induction of plant defense enzymes by L8 might account for its ability to provide effective protection for cucumber from seedling damping-off caused by the soil-borne fungal pathogen P. aphanidermatum.
Key words: Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), defense enzymes, damping-off of cucumber seedlings, induced resistance.