Chitinolytic activity of endophytic Streptomyces and potential for biocontrol

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Abstract

Aims

Biological sources for the control of plant pathogenic fungi remain an important objective for sustainable agricultural practices. Actinomycetes are used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry and agriculture owing to their great diversity in enzyme production. In the present study, therefore, we evaluated chitinase production by endophytic actinomycetes and the potential of this for control of phytopathogenic fungi.

Methods and Results

Endophytic Streptomyces were grown on minimum medium supplemented with chitin, and chitinase production was quantified. The strains were screened for any activity towards phytopathogenic fungi and oomycetes by a dual-culture in vitro assay. The correlation between chitinase production and pathogen inhibition was calculated and further confirmed on Colletotrichum sublineolum cell walls by scanning electron microscopy.

Conclusions

This paper reports a genetic correlation between chitinase production and the biocontrol potential of endophytic actinomycetes in an antagonistic interaction with different phytopathogens, suggesting that this control could occur inside the host plant.

Significance and Impact of the Study

A genetic correlation between chitinase production and pathogen inhibition was demonstrated. Our results provide an enhanced understanding of endophytic Streptomyces and its potential as a biocontrol agent. The implications and applications of these data for biocontrol are discussed.

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