, Volume 358, Issue 1-2, pp 201-212
Date: 03 Mar 2012

Isolation and selection of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria as inducers of systemic resistance in melon

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Backgroud and aims

Powdery mildew elicited by Podosphaera fusca is an important threat to cucurbits. In order to find alternatives to the current use of chemicals, we examined the potential use of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) for controlling the disease by induction of systemic resistance in the host plant.


A collection of Bacillus and Pseudomonas strains from different origins was studied, including strains isolated from roots of disease-free melon plants obtained from a greenhouse plagued by powdery mildew. The selection of best candidates was based on the evaluation of different traits commonly associated with PGPR, such as antifungal and siderophore production, swimming and swarming motilities, biofilm formation, auxin production and promotion of root development.


Three Bacillus strains, B. subtilis UMAF6614 and UMAF6639 and B. cereus UMAF8564, and two Pseudomonas fluorescens strains, UMAF6031 and UMAF6033, were selected after ranking the strains using a nonparametric statistics test. Applied to melon seedlings, the selected strains were able to promote plant growth, increasing fresh weight up to 30%. Furthermore, these strains provided protection against powdery mildew and also against angular leaf spot caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. lachrymans, with disease reductions of up to 60%.


These results suggest that the use of ISR-promoting PGPR could be a promising strategy for the integrated control of cucurbit powdery mildew and other cucurbit diseases.