Skip to main content
ARS Home » Office of Technology Transfer » Phytopathogen Suppression Using Bacterial Metabolites

Phytopathogen Suppression Using Bacterial Metabolites
headline bar

Objective: USDA, ARS is currently looking for an industrial partner to assist in the development and commercialization of bacterial metabolites for control plant diseases in peach and pecan. 


Overview: Plant diseases severely limit pecan and peach production. In laboratory experiments, we determined the ability of byproducts (= metabolites) that were derived from certain bacteria (Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus spp) to suppress key pecan and peach diseases.  The metabolites were derived from bacteria associated with insect-killing nematodes.  Overall we tested metabolites from seven different bacterial species or strains for their suppressive abilities to major plant diseases including fungal leaf scorch (Glomerella cingulata and Phomopsis sp.), Phytophthora shuck and kernel rot, pecan scab, and brown rot in peach (Monilinia fructicola).  We discovered that the potency of the bacteria's metabolites varied among the different species and strains.  Although all bacterial metabolites showed some potency, metabolites from one bacterium (Photorhabdus luminescens VS strain) had the highest potency and suppressed all pecan disease organisms in all tests.  We also tested activity of the metabolites on pecan leaves, and observed that diluted metabolites could cause disease suppression with little or no phytotoxicity.  Finally, we found that the bacteria metabolites could suppress sporulation of pecan scab on detached pecan shoots; reductions in sporulation caused by the metabolites were similar to those following treatment with chemical fungicides.  Based on these results, further research and development is warranted.  The expected end-product is a bacterial product that is can be used as an environmentally safe and effective biocontrol solution for key plant diseases.


Related Technology: An ARS patent application is pending based on research conducted to date.  Other researchers, research organizations, or companies have also noted and pursued the antibiotic characteristics of Xenorhabdus or Photorhabdus bacteria and their metabolites, but this invention and research is unique because of its focus on specific plant diseases (on pecan and peach) and the use of certain unique bacterial strains. 


Industry Type: ARS is looking for a commercial partner that wishes to explore innovative technologies for scale up, formulation, field-testing, and commercialization. The ideal partner will have an interest in biological control and agricultural technology with expertise in large scale growth of bacteria and or their by-products. 


Where:  South Atlantic Area; USDA-ARS Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory, Byron, Georgia.


Laboratory Mission: The Location's research seeks to enhance the production, value, and safety of pecan, peach, nectarine, and plum crops; to enhance economic competitiveness of farm operations engaged in the production of these crops; and to ensure the successful contribution of these crops to the American economy.


If your company is interested in learning more about this opportunity contact our regional Technology Transfer Coordinator:


Don Nordlund

USDA, ARS, Office of Technology Transfer

P.O. Box 5677