Plant and Soil

, Volume 405, Issue 1–2, pp 125–140 | Cite as

Endophytes-assisted biocontrol: novel insights in ecology and the mode of action of Paenibacillus

  • Daria Rybakova
  • Tomislav Cernava
  • Martina Köberl
  • Stefan Liebminger
  • Mohammad Etemadi
  • Gabriele BergEmail author
Regular Article



Biological control is an environmentally sound and effective means of reducing pathogen-induced damage to agriculture using natural antagonists. Paenibacillus is a cosmopolitan and ubiquitously occurring bacterial genus with antagonistic activity against phytopathogens. Many species and strains with promising potential for plant growth promotion and biocontrol of pathogens have been identified since Paenibacillus was first described 20 years ago. Nevertheless, important questions regarding the colonization of plants, and the mode of action of Paenibacillus remain unanswered.


This review focuses on the occurrence of Paenibacillus in microbial metagenomes, the endophytic lifestyle of Paenibacillus, and the function of Paenibacillus-derived volatile organic compounds (VOCs) combining actual literature with our own results.


This review provides new insights into the endophytic lifestyle of Paenibacillus and discusses strain-specific and system-dependent growth promotion effects on plants. VOCs, in particular pyrazine derivatives emitted by Paenibacillus, showed high activity against other organisms. This suggests that VOCs play an important role in communication and interaction. Overall, Paenibacillus strains demonstrate promising potential not only for sustainable agriculture and biological control, but also as a source for novel bioactive volatiles.


PGPR Plant growth promotion Endophyte Volatiles Metagenomics 



The authors would like to thank Timothy Mark (Graz) for English revision and discussion. This work was supported by three grants to GB, one from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF-DACH Project I882), another one affiliated to ACIB, the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (supported by the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth (BMWFJ), the Federal Ministry of Traffic, Innovation and Technology (bmvit), the Styrian Business Promotion Agency SFG, the Standortagentur Tirol and ZIT—Technology Agency of the City of Vienna through the COMET-Funding Program managed by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG) and the 3rd is an EU-funded project (BIOCOMES, No. 612713).

Supplementary material

11104_2015_2526_MOESM1_ESM.docx (353 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 352 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daria Rybakova
    • 1
  • Tomislav Cernava
    • 1
  • Martina Köberl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stefan Liebminger
    • 3
  • Mohammad Etemadi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gabriele Berg
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental BiotechnologyGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria
  2. 2.Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB GmbH)GrazAustria
  3. 3.Roombiotic GmbHGrazAustria

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