Rapid Screening of Rhizobacteria for Suppression of Rhizoctonia Damping-off

in HortScience
Authors: J.O Becker1 and U.K. Schuch1
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  • 1 Dept. of Nematology and Dept. of Botany & Plant Sciences, Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521

A rapid screening system was developed to identify plant-beneficial rhizobacteria useful in protecting nursery seedlings against damping-off caused by Rhizoctonia solani. Ornamental and agricultural crops were planted into 100 soil samples that were collected from various fields throughout California. More than 7000 bacterial strains from the rhizosphere of these crops were isolated and tested in vitro for antibiosis against R. solani AG4. In a second tier, 600 active strains were tested in planting trays seeded with radish (Raphanus sativus `Cherry Belle'). Each planting cell filled with commercial potting mix contained millet-grown R. solani inoculum in the center and eight radish seeds at the periphery. Bacteria were cultured for 24 hr at 25°C in 10% tryptic soy broth and were applied as a drench at 1 × 107 cfu/cc to each cell. Trays were incubated in a growth chamber at 21°C and a 10-hr photoperiod. Post-emergence damping-off occurred within 8 to 9 days after planting, and no further losses were observed after 14 days. Approximately 0.5% of the original 7000 bacterial strains tested reduced damping-off significantly. Fifteen bacterial strains controlled Rhizoctonia damping-off by 30% to 60% compared to the non-treated control.

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