Biocontrol of Botrytis cinerea by successful introduction of Pantoea ananatis in the grapevine phyllosphere
Florian Gasser,1 Massimiliano Cardinale,1 Barbara Schildberger,2 Gabriele Berg1
1Institute of Environmental Biotechnology, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria; 2Höhere Bundesanstalt und Bundesamt für Wein-und Obstbau, Klosterneuburg, Austria
Background and aims: The fungus Botrytis cinerea is a common problem in viticulture and leads to serious losses in both yield and quality. The objective was to study the potential of the antagonist Pantoea ananatis BLBT1-08 for controlling this disease.
Methods: Pathogen suppression by Pantoea treatments was investigated in different field trials and in detached leaf assays. The mode of action was studied by confocal laser scanning microscopy of treated grape leaves and by in vitro assays.
Results: The introduction of P. ananatis BLBT1-08 in a 3-year field trial resulted in statistically significant reduction of disease symptoms. However, B. cinerea abundance, measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction of a B. cinerea specific gene, was not reduced when compared to non-treated, symptom-free leaves. A DsRed fluorescent protein labeled BLBT1-08 strain showed a high phyllosphere competence and competition on the leaf surface, but did not colonize the inner parts of plant tissue. Germination of B. cinerea was not inhibited by BLBT1-08 on the leaf, but mycelial growth and symptoms were suppressed without direct pathogen-antagonist contact. The antimicrobial activity was amino acid and temperature dependent.
Conclusion: P. ananatis BLBT1-08 is a competitive and promising biocontrol agent for the control of B. cinerea and is highly effective at reducing disease incidence.
Keywords: biological control, sustainable viticulture, antagonism