Plant and Soil

, Volume 340, Issue 1–2, pp 505–520 | Cite as

Screening for candidate bacterial biocontrol agents against soilborne fungal plant pathogens

  • Clara Pliego
  • Cayo Ramos
  • Antonio de Vicente
  • Francisco M. CazorlaEmail author
Review Article


Over the years, many bacterial isolates have been evaluated as potential biocontrol agents against soilborne fungal phytopathogens. However, few of them were ultimately successful after evaluation in field trials. One of the major reasons for this failure is the lack of appropriate screening procedures to select the most suitable microorganisms for disease control in diverse soil environments. For this reason, the study of bacterial screening has a future that is characterised by many technical and conceptual challenges. In this review, we summarise and discuss the convenience of use of the main screening methods currently applied to select bacterial candidates for biocontrol of fungal and oomycete soilborne phytopathogens. Also, a comparative case study of the application of different screening methods applied to an experimental pathosystem is shown, revealing the success of bacterial candidates selected by different strategies for biocontrol of the phytopathogenic fungus Rosellinia necatrix in avocado plants. Screening for antagonism against this fungal pathogen, one of the more straightforward methods used for the selection of bacterial biocontrol agents, was proven to be a valid strategy for this experimental system.


Selection Antagonism Root colonisation Induction of resistance PGPR 



This research has been supported by the Spanish Plan Nacional I+D+I Grants AGL 2005-06347-C03-01 and AGL 2008-05453-C02-01, and by the Junta de Andalucía Grant AGR-169, and cofinanced by EU (FEDER).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clara Pliego
    • 1
  • Cayo Ramos
    • 1
  • Antonio de Vicente
    • 2
  • Francisco M. Cazorla
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Área de GenéticaInstituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea, Universidad de Málaga (IHSM-UMA-CSIC)MálagaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de MicrobiologíaInstituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea, Universidad de Málaga (IHSM-UMA-CSIC)MálagaSpain

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