, Volume 101, Issue 5, pp 519-525

Evaluation of antagonistic bacteria for suppression of bacterial ring rot of potato

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Bacterial strains with potential for biological control of bacterial ring rot of potato caused byClavibacter michiganensis subsp.sepedonicus were isolated from the surface of potato tubers. Eighty-eight potential biocontrol candidates, selected on the basis ofin vitro antibiosis toC. m. sepedonicus, produced inhibition zones with radii ranging from 0.5 to 16 mm on test plates. All antagonistic isolates were screened in the greenhouse for biocontrol activity on micropropagated potato plantlets root-inoculated withC. m. sepedonicus. Eight strains consistently prevented infection of plantlets but there was no significant correlation between the width of the inhibition zone in thein vitro assay and ring rot suppression in the plant bioassay. Three strains that showed a high level of biological control potential were identified as a saprophytic enteric bacterium (strain 7G), anArthrobacter sp. (strain 16C), and a soil coryneform bacterium (strain 18A). These were tested in a field plot by co-inoculating cut seed potato tubers withC. m. sepedonicus and antagonists. Strains 7G and 18A significantly increased plant stand whereas 16C decreased disease incidence. The relative number of ostensibly ring rot-free progeny tubers was generally greater when antagonists were present.