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Evaluation of formulations of Bacillus licheniformis for the biological control of tomato gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea

Evaluation of formulations of Bacillus licheniformis for the biological control of tomato gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea

Biological control: theory and application in pest management 37(3): 329-337

Bacillus licheniformis N1, which has previously exhibited potential as a biological control agent, was investigated to develop a biofungicide to control the gray mold of tomato caused by Botrytis cinerea. Various formulations of B. licheniformis N1 were developed using fermentation cultures of the bacteria in Biji medium, and their ability to control gray mold on tomato plants was evaluated. The results of pot experiments led to the selection of the wettable powder formulation N1E, based on corn starch and olive oil, for evaluation of the disease control activity of this bacterium after both artificial infection of the pathogen and natural disease occurrence under production conditions. In plastic-house artificial infection experiments, a 100-fold diluted N1E treatment was found to be the optimum biofungicide spray formulation. This treatment resulted in the significant reduction of symptom development when N1E was applied before Bo. cinerea infection, but not after the infection. Both artificial infection experiments in a plastic house and natural infection experiments under production conditions revealed that the N1E significantly reduced disease severity on tomato plants and flowers. The disease control value of N1E on tomato plants was 90.5% under production conditions, as compared to the 77% conferred by a chemical fungicide, the mixture of carbendazim and diethofencarb (1:1). The prevention of flower infection by N1E resulted in increased numbers of tomato fruits on each plant. N1E treatment also had growth promotion activity, which showed the increased number of tomato fruits compared to fungicide treatment and non-treated control and the increased fruit size compared the non-treated control under production conditions. This study suggests that the corn starch-based formulation of B. licheniformis developed using liquid fermentation will be an effective tool in the biological control of tomato gray mold.

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Accession: 004514568

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DOI: 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2006.01.001

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