In recent years, the interest in the use of bacteria for biological control of plant-pathogenic fungi has increased. We studied the possible side effects of coating barley seeds with the antagonistic strain Pseudomonas fluorescens DR54 or a commercial fungicide, imazalil. This was done by monitoring the number of indigenous Pseudomonas organisms and actinomycetes on barley roots during growth in soil, harvest after 50 days, and subsequent decomposition. Bacteria were enumerated by traditional plate spreading on Gould's S1 agar (Pseudomonas) and as filamentous colonies on Winogradsky agar (actinomycetes) and by two quantitative competitive PCR assays. For this we developed an assay targeting Streptomyces and closely related genera. DR54 constituted more than 75% of the Pseudomonas population at the root base during the first 21 days but decreased to less than 10% at day 50. DR54 was not successful in colonizing root tips. Initially, DR54 affected the number of indigenous Pseudomonas organisms negatively, whereas imazalil affected Pseudomonas numbers positively, but the effects were transient. Although plate counts were considerably lower than the number of DNA copies, the two methods correlated well for Pseudomonas during plant growth, but after plant harvest Pseudomonas-specific DNA copy numbers decreased while plate counts were in the same magnitude as before. Hence, Pseudomonas was 10-fold more culturable in a decomposition environment than in the rhizosphere. The abundance of actinomycetes was unaffected by DR54 or imazalil amendments, and CFU and quantitative PCR results correlated throughout the experiment. The abundance of actinomycetes increased gradually, mostly in numbers of DNA copies, confirming their role in colonizing old roots
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.