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Australasian Plant Pathology

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 293–304 | Cite as

Biological control of plant diseases

  • Philip A. O’Brien
Review

Abstract

Biological control is the control of disease by the application of biological agents to a host animal or plant that prevents the development of disease by a pathogen. With regard to plant diseases the biocontrol agents are usually bacterial or fungal strains isolated from the endosphere or rhizosphere. Viruses can also be used as biocontrol agents and there is a resurgent interest in the use of bacterial viruses for control of plant diseases. The degree of disease suppression achieved with biological agents can be comparable to that achieved with chemicals. Our understanding of the ways in which biocontrol agents protect plants from disease has developed considerably in recent years with the application of genomics and genetic modification techniques. We have uncovered mechanisms by which biocontrol agents interact with the host plant and other members of the microbial community associated with the plant. Understanding these mechanisms is crucial to the isolation of effective biocontrol agents and the development of biocontrol strategies for plant diseases. This review looks at recent developments in our understanding of biocontrol agents for plant diseases and how they work.

Keywords

Biocontrol Screening Genetic-modification Endophytes 

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Copyright information

© Australasian Plant Pathology Society Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Veterinary and Life SciencesMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia

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