Submitted to: Journal of Industrial Microbiology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: June 3, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Research interest in utilizing microorganisms to create a microbial environment suppressive to plant pathogens has increased exponentially in recent years. Despite intense interest in developing biological control agents, relatively few antagonists have achieved "commercial product" status. The fact that such a small proportion of active laboratory antagonists are developed into biological control products is partly due t several features common to microbial selection strategies that are widely utilized to obtain putative biological control agents: a)relatively few candidate microorganisms are tested, b) microbes are selected based on the results of an assay that does not replicate field conditions, and c) the amenability of microbes to commercial development is excluded as a selection criterium. Selection strategies that enhance the likelihood of developing commercial biological control products are described. These include making appropriate choices regarding the pathosystem to biologically control, the method of microbe isolation, and the method of isolate characterization and performance evaluation. A model system of developing a biological control product active against Gibberella pulicaris (Fries) Sacc. (anamorph: Fusarium sambucinum Fuckel), the primary causal agent of Fusarium dry rot of stored potatoes, is used to illustrate the proposed selection strategy concepts. The crucial importance and methodology of selecting strains with enhanced potential for commercial development based on a strain exhibiting both favorable growth kinetics and bioefficacy when grown in commercially feasible liquid media is described.