In this study, we investigated the feasibility of applying nutrient germinants to plant surfaces to stimulate the spore germination of the plant disease biocontrol agent Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain TrigoCor.Methods and Results:
Using the terbium chloride assay and phase-contrast microscopy, we screened potential germinants of TrigoCor spores and found that a combination of d-glucose, d-fructose and potassium chloride (GFK), in addition to either l-asparagine (Asn-GFK) or l-alanine (Ala-GFK), induced maximal levels of TrigoCor spore germination in vitro. The germinant mixture Asn-GFK was also able to significantly stimulate Bacillus spore germination on wheat surfaces.Conclusions:
The successful in vivo stimulation of Bacillus spore germination suggests that nutrient-induced spore germination on plant surfaces is a feasible strategy for improving Bacillus biocontrol.Significance and Impact of the Study:
One of the challenges of applying Bacillus biological control agents to aboveground plant parts is that Bacillus cells transition to a metabolically dormant spore state on plant surfaces, making them unable to prevent subsequent pathogen attacks. This study demonstrates that using nutrients to stimulate Bacillus spore germination in vivo is a promising option for improving disease control and should be pursued further.