Biological control of Botrytis cinerea on stem wounds with moderately halophilic bacteria

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Infection of tomato stem wounds by Botrytis cinerea is an important problem which can cause severe economic losses in greenhouse tomato crops. Three moderately halophilic bacteria were tested for their ability to protect pruning wounds from attacks by B. cinerea under growth chamber conditions. The severity of the disease estimated by the length of the rotted stem was used to calculate the area under the disease progress curves (AUDPC). Bacterial antagonists (B1, B2 and B3) were very effective in controlling Botrytis-infection on the tomato stems during the first 6 days and later by the end of the experiment. Plants treated with Bacillus subtilis (B1) had the lowest AUDPC (0). It was followed by B. subtilis (B3) and Halomonas sp. (B2) with AUDPC of 9.8 and 17.02, respectively. While the B1 strain best inhibited grey mold development when applied as young culture (24 h), the B3 strain performed better as an older culture (48 h). In contrast to the results obtained with Bacillus species, the efficacy of the bacterial treatment B2 seems to be independent of the growth phase. The co-cultures with fungal spores and either B. subtilis (B1) or Halomonas sp. (B2) applied as a 24 h bacterial culture completely inhibited the germination of B. cinerea after 24 h at 21°C.

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