Skip to main content

A strain of Bacillus subtilis subsp. subtilis shows a specific antagonistic activity against the soil-borne pathogen of onion Setophoma terrestris

Abstract

Pink Root is among the major diseases of onion and its causal agent, Setophoma terrestris, is one of the most severe pathogens in soils of tropical and subtropical climates. The management of Pink Root is difficult and the strategies currently used are ineffective. Although, there are some varieties resistant to S. terrestris, they are not resistant to every isolate of the pathogen and it is not unusual to find isolates that break that resistance. Moreover, chemical control is not technically or economically feasible. So, we decided to address biocontrol as a mean to manage the main onion disease in Argentina. We tested the efficiency of a strain of Bacillus subtilis subsp. subtilis isolated from the rhizosphere of onion plants to inhibit the growth of S. terrestris in vitro. Our strain of Bacillus subtilis showed a strong capacity of growth inhibition of S. terrestris. No antagonistic activity against two other onion pathogens, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cepae and F. proliferatum, was observed. Interestingly, we found a high growth inhibition of S. terrestris on plates containing cell-free supernatant of B. subtilis previously grown in the presence of the fungus. No significant differences in the fungal growth were obtained between control plates and plates containing cell-free supernatant from B. subtilis grown without previous contact with S. terrestris. Electron microscopy of S. terrestris from co-cultures plates revealed thickened, tortuous or coiled fungal hyphae, with granules and globular like terminations. These results suggested that the strain of B. subtilis under study has a strong biocontrol activity against S. terrestris and that it would be acting diffusible bacterial inhibitory compounds specifically induced by this pathogen.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  • Boerema, G., de Gruyter, J., Noordeloos, M., Hamers, M. (2004). Phoma identification manual. Differentiation of specific and infra-specific taxa in culture. CABI Publishing.

  • de Gruyter, J., Woudenberg, J. H. C., Aveskamp, M. M., Verkley, G. J. M., Groenewald, J. Z., & Crous, P. W. (2010). Systematic reappraisal of species in Phoma section Paraphoma, Pyrenochaeta and Pleurophoma. Mycologia, 102, 1066–1081.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Fenselau, C., & Demirev, P. A. (2001). Characterization of intact microorganisms by MALDI mass spectrometry. Mass Spectrometry Reviews, 20, 157–171.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Fernando, W. G. D., Ramarathnam, R., Krishnamoorthy, A. S., & Savchuk, S. C. (2005). Identification and use of potential bacterial organic antifungal volatiles in biocontrol. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 37, 955–964.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Galmarini, C. R. (Ed.), (1997). Manual del cultivo de la cebolla. INTA Centro Regional Cuyo. Editar, San Juan.

  • Handelsman, J., & Stabb, E. V. (1996). Biocontrol of soilborne plant pathogens. The Plant Cell Online, 8, 1855–1869.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Hansen, H. (1929). Etiology of the pink-root disease of onion. Phytopathology, 19, 691–704.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kehr, A. E., O’Brien, M. J., & Davis, E. W. (1962). Pathogenicity of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cepae and its interaction with Pyrenochaeta terrestris on onion. Euphytica, 11, 197–208.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shishkoff, N. (1992). Pyrenochaeta. In: L. Singleton, J. Mihail, C. Rush (Eds.) Methods for Research in Soilborne Phytopathogenic Fungi (pp 153–156). APS Press.

  • Siemer, S., & Vaughan, E. (1971). Bioassay of Pyrenochaeta terrestris inoculum in soil. Phytopathology, 61, 146–148.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sneh, B., Netzer, D., & Krikum, J. (1974). Isolation and identification of Pyrenochaeta terrestris from soil in dilution plates. Phytopathology, 64, 275–276.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Statista. (2012). Global production of vegetables by type. http://www.statista.com/statistics/264065/global-production-of-vegetables-by-type/

  • Stein, T. (2005). Bacillus subtilis antibiotics: structures, syntheses and specific functions. Molecular Microbiology, 56, 845–857.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Xie, S.-S., Wu, H.-J., Zang, H.-Y., Wu, L.-M., Zhu, Q.-Q., & Gao, X.-W. (2014). Plant growth promotion by spermidine-producing Bacillus subtilis OKB105. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 27, 655–663.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This work was principally supported by a grant from the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA). Grants from the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET) and Secretary of Research and Technological Linkage of the Catholic University of Cordoba are also acknowledged. Andrea G. Albarracín Orio is member of the Research Career of CONICET, Elsa Brücher had a PhD fellowship from CONICET and Daniel D. Ducasse is researcher of INTA.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daniel Adrián Ducasse.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Albarracín Orio, A.G., Brücher, E. & Ducasse, D.A. A strain of Bacillus subtilis subsp. subtilis shows a specific antagonistic activity against the soil-borne pathogen of onion Setophoma terrestris . Eur J Plant Pathol 144, 217–223 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10658-015-0762-0

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10658-015-0762-0

Keywords

  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Setophoma terrestris
  • Biocontrol
  • Onion