Efficacy of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens as biocontrol agent to fight fungal diseases of maize under tropical climates: from lab to field assays in south Kivu
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Kulimushi, P.Z., Basime, G.C., Nachigera, G.M. et al. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2017). doi:10.1007/s11356-017-9314-9
In the province of South Kivu (Democratic Republic of Congo), warm and humid climatic conditions favor the development and spreading of phytopathogens. The resulting diseases cause important losses in production both in crop and after harvest. In this study, we wanted to evaluate the potential of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens as biocontrol agent to fight some newly isolated endemic fungal pathogens infesting maize. The strain S499 has been selected based on its high in vitro antagonistic activity correlating with a huge potential to secrete fungitoxic lipopeptides upon feeding on maize root exudates. Biocontrol activity of S499 was further tested on infected plantlets in growth chamber and on plants grown under field conditions over an entire cropping period. We observed a strong protective effect of this strain evaluated at two different locations with specific agro-ecological conditions. Interestingly, disease protection was associated with higher yields and our data strongly suggest that, in addition to directly inhibit pathogens, the strain may also act as biofertilizer through the solubilization of phosphorus and/or by producing plant growth hormones in the rhizosphere. This work supports the hope of exploiting such technologically advantageous bacilli for the sake of sustainable local production of this important crop in central Africa.