Potato plant spheres and to a lesser extent the soil type influence the proportion and diversity of bacterial isolates with in vitro antagonistic activity towards Ralstonia solanacearum
Ralstonia solanacearum biovar2-race3 (Rs r3b2) is an epidemic soil-borne bacterial phytopathogen causing brown rot disease in potato. In this study, we assessed how three soil types stored at the same field site influenced the proportion and diversity of bacterial isolates with in vitro antagonistic activity towards Rs in bulk soil and different potato plant spheres (rhizosphere, endorhiza and endocaulosphere; ecto- and endosphere of seed and yield tubers). In general, the plate counts observed for each sample type were not significantly different. A total of 96 colonies per sample type was picked and screened for in vitro antagonistic activity against Rs. Antagonists were obtained from all bulk soils and plant spheres with the highest proportion obtained from the endorhiza and endocaulosphere of potato plants. BOX-PCR fingerprints of antagonists showed that some were specific for particular plant spheres independent of the soil type, while others originated from different plant spheres of a particular soil type. The majority of antagonists belonged to Pseudomonas. A high proportion of antagonists produced siderophores, and interestingly antagonists from potato tubers frequently carried multiple antibiotic production genes. Our data showed an enrichment of bacteria with genes or traits potentially involved in biocontrol in the rhizosphere and in endophytic compartments. We report that the proportion and diversity of in vitro antagonists towards Rs isolated from bulk soil and different spheres of potato plants grown under field conditions in three different soil types was mainly shaped by the plant sphere and to a lesser extent by the soil type. Bacteria with antagonistic activity towards Ralstonia solanacearum were isolated from all plant spheres and bulk soils but their proportion was highest in endophytic compartments.
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