Submitted to: Research in Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/5/2003
Publication Date: 11/20/2003
Citation: Roberts, D.P., Lohrke, S.M., Buyer, J.S., Baker, C.J., Liu, S. 2003. Colonization of subterranean plant surfaces and suppression of soilborne plant pathogens: Studies with Enterobacter cloacae. Recent Research in Develop. Microbiology. 7:161-174.
Interpretive Summary: Biological control of plant diseases has the potential to reduce chemical inputs in agriculture, maintain a greater biological balance in the environment, and lead to more sustainable long-term agricultural practices. However, the transition of biological control from a laboratory curiosity to a commercially viable agronomic practice has been slow. This is due, in part, to a lack of understanding of how biocontrol microorganisms associate with plants and suppress disease. This article is an overview of recent research regarding colonization of plant surfaces as it pertains to suppression of soilborne plant pathogens. Emphasis is placed on work performed in our laboratories with the potential biocontrol bacterium Enterobacter cloacae. This information will be useful to scientists involved in biological control.
Technical Abstract: It is generally assumed that biocontrol organisms must colonize subterranean plant parts for effective suppression of soilborne plant pathogens in many biocontrol interactions. Unfortunately our knowledge of the processes that lead to effective colonization is unclear. Also unclear is our knowledge regarding how biocontrol organisms derive metabolic energy for colonization and disease suppression in the spermosphere and rhizosphere. Here we present a brief overview of colonization research as it pertains to suppression of soilborne plant pathogens. We emphasize recent findings in our laboratories regarding how the potential biocontrol bacterium Enterobacter cloacae colonizes seeds and roots and suppresses damping-off caused by Pythium ultimum.