Plant growth promotion and biological control of Pythium aphanidermatum, a pathogen of cucumber, by endophytic actinomycetes

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Abstract

Aims

To evaluate the potential of Actinoplanes campanulatus, Micromonospora chalcea and Streptomyces spiralis endophytic in cucumber roots, to promote plant growth and to protect seedlings and mature plants of cucumber from diseases caused by Pythium aphanidermatum, under greenhouse conditions.

Methods and Results

Three endophytic isolates, out of 29, were selected through tests aimed at understanding their mechanisms of action as biocontrol agents and plant growth promoters. When applied individually or in combination, they significantly promoted plant growth and reduced damping-off and crown and root rot of cucumber. The combination of the three isolates resulted in significantly better suppression of diseases and plant growth promotion, than where the plants were exposed to individual strains.

Conclusions

The three selected actinomycete isolates colonized cucumber roots endophytically for 8 weeks, promoted plant growth and suppressed pathogenic activities of P. aphanidermatum on seedling and mature cucumber plants.

Significance and Impact of the Study

The results clearly show that the endophytic, glucanase-producing actinomycetes used, especially as a combined treatment, could replace metalaxyl, which is the currently recommended fungicide for Pythium diseases in the United Arab Emirates. These endophytic isolates also have the potential to perform as plant growth promoters, which is a useful attribute for crop production in nutrient impoverished soils.

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