Amendment of Muskmelon and Watermelon Transplant Media with Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria: Effects on Seedling Quality, Disease, and Nematode Resistance

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  • 1 USDA, ARS, U.S. Horticultural Research Lab, 2001 S. Rock Rd., Ft. Pierce, FL, 34945.
  • | 2 University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Southwest Florida Research & Education Center, Immokalee, FL, 34142.
  • | 3 Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University, AL, 36849.
  • | 4 Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University, AL, 36849.

Greenhouse and field trials were performed on muskmelon (Cucumis melo) and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) to evaluate the effects of six formulations of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) that have previously been shown to increase seedling growth and induce disease resistance on other transplanted vegetables. Formulations of Gram-positive bacterial strains were added to a soilless, peat-based transplant medium before seeding. Several PGPR treatments significantly increased shoot weight, shoot length, and stem diameter of muskmelon and watermelon seedlings and transplants. Root weight of muskmelon seedlings was also increased by PGPR treatment. On watermelon, four PGPR treatments reduced angular leaf spot lesions caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. lachrymans, and gummy stem blight, caused by Didymella bryoniae, compared to the nontreated and formulation carrier controls. One PGPR treatment reduced angular leaf spot lesions on muskmelon compared to the nontreated and carrier controls. On muskmelon in the field, one PGPR treatment reduced root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) disease severity compared to all control treatments.

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To whom reprint requests should be addressed; e-mail nburelle@saa.ars.usda.gov.
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