, Volume 100, Issue 3-4, pp 221-232

Pyoluteorin production byPseudomonas fluorescens strain CHA0 is involved in the suppression ofPythium damping-off of cress but not of cucumber

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Pseudomonas fluorescens strain CHA0 is an effective biocontrol agent of various soilborne pathogens. It controls damping-off or root rot caused byPythium ultimum on cucumber, wheat and cress. Strain CHA0 synthesizes several antibiotic metabolites such as hydrogen cyanide, 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol, and pyoluteorin. The role of pyoluteorin in the suppression of damping-off was investigated. Two Tn5 mutants (CHA660 and CHA661) of strain CHA0 were isolated which had lost the capacity to produce pyoluteorin but still produced 2,4-diacteylphloroglucinol and HCN. These mutants still inhibitedP. ultimum on malt agar (which favours the production of 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol) but had partially lost the ability to inhibit this pathogen on King's B agar (which favours the production of pyoluteorin). The two pyoluteorin-negative mutants showed a reduced capacity to suppress damping-off of cress caused byP. ultimum but were as effective in the protection of cucumber against this pathogen as the wild-type strain.

These results indicate that, depending on the plant, pyoluteorin production plays a role in the suppression of damping-off by strain CHA0 without being a major mechanism in disease suppression. We suggest that the contribution of pyoluteorin to the biocontrol activity of strain CHA0 is determined by the quantity of this antibiotic produced in the rhizosphere, which might depend on the root exudates of the host plant.