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Jacqueline Joshua and Margaret T. Mmbaga

Fungi isolated from snap bean roots and rhizosphere soil where fungicides are not used included Fusarium oxysporum, Fusarium equiseti, Fusarium subglutinans, Fusarium camptoceras, Fusarium chlamydosporum, Fusarium verticillioides, Fusarium proliferatum, Fusarium acuminatum, Fusarium solani, Peyronellaea pinodella, Macrophomina phaseolina, and Glomerella guttata. Only P. pinodella, M. phaseolina, and F. oxysporum were isolated on symptomatic plants. These soilborne fungi are common pathogens of diverse host plants. Pathogenicity tests under controlled environment demonstrated that these fungi were pathogenic on snap beans. Subsequently, bacterial endophytes isolated from snap bean roots, papaya roots and stems, and dogwood stems were evaluated as potential biological control agents against these diverse fungi. All bacteria isolated, including Bacillus vallismortis (PS), Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (Psl), Bacillus subtilis (Prt), Bacillus thuringiensis (Y and IMC8), Enterobacter sp. (E), Stenotrophomonas sp. (B17A), and Serratia sp. (B17B) suppressed growth of the fungal pathogens in vitro and formed clear inhibition zones in petri dish dual cultures. Growth media taken from the inhibition zones suppressed growth of the fungal pathogens in the absence of the bacterial cells, suggesting that the bacteria released unidentified antagonistic biochemical substances into the media. This study constitutes an initial screening of endophytes as biological control agents against diverse fungal pathogens and forms a basis for the discovery of novel strains that can be further developed and integrated into disease management systems for diverse fungal pathogens. Isolates B. vallismortis (PS), B. amyloliquefaciens (Psl), B. subtilis (Prt), and B. thuringiensis (Y IMC8) exhibited the best performance as potential biological control agents paving the way for larger-scale in vivo studies and characterization of their interactions with fungal pathogens.