The utility of microorganisms for the enhancement of crop production is well established in the scientific literature. Microorganisms can be used to decrease our dependence on synthetic chemicals, improve disease resistance and enhance yields of crop plants. Beneficial plant-microbe interactions occur in the rhizosphere, and these interactions can improve plant growth and increase tolerance to both biotic and abiotic stresses. The benefits provided by beneficial microbes are dependent on their ability to colonize plant roots and survive and proliferate over extended duration in the presence of other microbes. Much of the scientific literature focuses on discovering the molecular basis of different modes of action and the specific activities of bioactive compounds under laboratory, greenhouse and field conditions. Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), from a diverse number of genera, have been found to stimulate growth via phytohormones or other stimulants, by increasing nutrient availability, or by suppressing plant diseases and pests. Some PGPRs can also act as biocontrol agents by eliciting an induced systemic resistance (ISR) that is effective against foliar and root pathogens as well as insect herbivores. One well-studied group of PGPRs are the bacteria belonging to the Pseudomonas genus. These bacteria can produce a variety of bioactive compounds and proteins, including 2,4- diacetylphloroglucinol (DAPG), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), auxin, lipo-polysaccarhides, chitinase, harpins and exoproteases just to name a few. These compounds are well known to be antagonistic toward plant pathogens and application of pseudomonas to plants has been shown to improve disease resistance.
- Biocontrol of plant-parasitic nematodes - Current research is focused on identifying and characterizing pseudomonas for use in the control of soybean cyst and root-knot nematode.
- Biocontrol of agrobacteria - Current research is testing the function and mode of action of biocontrol of agrobacteria-based diseases.
- Biocontrol of fungi - A collaborative project with other members of the Plant Pathology department examining the use of pseudomonas for the biocontrol of fungal diseases.
- Volatile production - Research is examining the role of volatiles produced by pseudomonas for disease suppression.
Work with Pseudomonas is also covered by the Microbial Based Solutions for Agriculture Team (MBSA)
Wei JZ; Siehl DL; Hou ZL; Rosen B; Oral J; Taylor CG; Wu GS. 2017. An Enterotoxin-Like Binary Protein from Pseudomonas protegens with Potent Nematicidal Activity. Applied and Environmental Microbiology Vol 42 Article no. UNSP e00942-17
Mavrodi OV, Walter N, Elateek S, Taylor CG, Okubara PA. 2012. Suppression of Rhizoctonia and Pythium root rot of wheat by new strains of Pseudomonas. Biological Control 62(2): 93-10.