Location: Forage Seed and Cereal ResearchTitle: Selective inhibition of Erwinia amylovora by the herbicidally-active Germination-Arrest Factor (GAF) produced by Pseudomonas bacteria) Author
Submitted to: Journal of Applied Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/6/2011
Publication Date: 10/31/2011
Citation: Halgren, A.B., Azevedo, M.D., Mills, D.I., Armstrong, D., Thimmaiah, M., Mcphail, K., Banowetz, G.M. 2011. Selective inhibition of Erwinia amylovora by the herbicidally-active Germination-Arrest Factor (GAF) produced by Pseudomonas bacteria. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 111: 949-959. Interpretive Summary: In previous research, we discovered a chemical that is produced by a soil bacterium that arrests the seed germination of a number of economically important weeds. In this study, we discovered that the same chemical also inhibits the growth of the bacterium that causes fire blight disease in pears and apples. It is possible that the bacterium that produces this chemical may have utility as a biological control organism to reduce the impact of fire blight on apple and pear production.
Technical Abstract: Aims: The Germination-Arrest Factor (GAF) produced by Pseudomonas fluorescens WH6, and identified as 4-formylaminooxyvinylglycine, specifically inhibits the germination of a wide range of grassy weeds. The present study was undertaken to determine if GAF has antimicrobial activity in addition to its inhibitory effects on grass seed germination. Methods and Results: Culture filtrate from P. fluorescens WH6 had little or no effect on 17 species of bacteria grown in Petri dish lawns, but the in vitro growth of Erwinia amylovora, the causal agent of the disease of orchard crops known as fire blight, was strongly inhibited by the filtrate. The anti-Erwinia activity of WH6 culture filtrate was shown to be due to its GAF content, and a commercially available oxyvinylglycine, 4-aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), exhibited anti-Erwinia activity similar to that of GAF. The effects of GAF on Erwinia were reversed by particular amino acids. Conclusions: The biological properties of GAF include a rather specific antimicrobial activity against E. amylovora. This may be a general property of oxyvinylglycines as AVG exhibited similar activity. The ability of particular amino acids to reverse GAF inhibition is consistent with a potential effect of this compound on the activity of aminotransferases. Significance and Impact of the Study: The results presented here demonstrate a novel antimicrobial activity of oxyvinylglycines and suggest that GAF and/or GAF-producing bacteria may have potential for the control of fire blight.