Geetika Vajpayee


2 Biological Control of Karnal Bunt by Pseudomonas fluorescens

Authors: Sugandha Asthana, Geetika Vajpayee, Pratibha Kumari and Shanthy Sundaram


Pseudomonas species possess a variety of promising properties of antifungal and growth promoting activities in the wheat plant. In the present study, Pseudomonas fluorescens MTCC-9768 is tested against plant pathogenic fungus Tilletia indica, causing Karnal bunt, a quarantine disease of wheat (Triticum aestivum) affecting kernels of wheat. It is one of the 1/A1 harmful diseases of wheat worldwide under EU legislation. This disease develops in the growth phase by the spreading of microscopically small spores of the fungus (teliospores) being dispersed by the wind. The present chemical fungicidal treatments were reported to reduce teliospores germination, but its effect is questionable since T. indica can survive up to four years in the soil. The fungal growth inhibition tests were performed using Dual Culture Technique, and the results showed inhibition by 82.5%. The interaction of antagonist bacteria-fungus causes changes in the morphology of hyphae, which was observed using Lactophenol cotton blue staining and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The rounded and swollen ends, called ‘theca’ were observed in interacted fungus as compared to control fungus (without bacterial interaction). This bacterium was tested for its antagonistic activity like protease, cellulose, HCN production, Chitinase, etc. The growth promoting activities showed increase production of IAA in bacteria. The bacterial secondary metabolites were extracted in different solvents for testing its growth inhibiting properties. The characterization and purification of the antifungal compound were done by Thin Layer Chromatography, and Rf value was calculated (Rf value = 0.54) and compared to the standard antifungal compound, 2, 4 DAPG (Rf value = 0.54). Further, the in vivo experiments showed a significant decrease in the severity of disease in the wheat plant due to direct injection method and seed treatment. Our results indicate that the extracted and purified compound from the antagonist bacteria, P. fluorescens MTCC-9768 may be used as a potential biocontrol agent against T. indica. This also concludes that the PGPR properties of the bacteria may be utilized by incorporating it into bio-fertilizers.

Keywords: Antagonism, Pseudomonas fluorescens, PGPR, Karnal bunt

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1 Isolation and Screening of Antagonistic Bacteria against Wheat Pathogenic Fungus Tilletia indica

Authors: Shanthy Sundaram, Sugandha Asthana, Geetika Vajpayee, Pratibha Kumari


An economically important disease of wheat in North Western region of India is Karnal Bunt caused by smut fungus Tilletia indica. This fungal pathogen spreads by air, soil and seed borne sporodia at the time of flowering, which ultimately leads to partial bunting of wheat kernels with fishy odor and taste to wheat flour. It has very serious effects due to quarantine measures which have to be applied for grain exports. Chemical fungicides such as mercurial compounds and Propiconazole applied to the control of Karnal bunt have been only partially successful. Considering the harmful effects of chemical fungicides on man as well as environment, many countries are developing biological control as the superior substitute to chemical control. Repeated use of fungicides can be responsible for the development of resistance in fungal pathogens against certain chemical compounds. The present investigation is based on the isolation and evaluation of antifungal properties of some isolated (from natural manure) and commercial bacterial strains against Tilletia indica. Total 23 bacterial isolates were obtained and antagonistic activity of all isolates and commercial bacterial strains (Bacillus subtilis MTCC8601, Bacillus pumilus MTCC 8743, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) were tested against T. indica by dual culture plate assay (pour plate and streak plate). Test for the production of antifungal volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by antagonistic bacteria was done by sealed plate method. Amongst all s1, s3, s5, and B. subtilis showed more than 80% inhibition. Production of extracellular hydrolytic enzymes such as protease, beta 1, 4 glucanase, HCN and ammonia was studied for confirmation of antifungal activity. s1, s3, s5 and B. subtilis were found to be the best for protease activity and s5 and B. subtilis for beta 1, 4 glucanase activity. Bacillus subtilis was significantly effective for HCN whereas s3, s5 and Bacillus subtilis for ammonia production. Isolates were identified as Pseudomonas aeruginosa (s1) and B. licheniformis (s3, s5) by various biochemical assays and confirmed by16s rRNA sequencing. Use of microorganisms or their secretions as biocontrol agents to avoid plant diseases is ecologically safe and may offer long term of protection to crop. The above study reports the promising effects of these strains in better pathogen free crop production and quality maintenance as well as prevention of the excessive use of synthetic fungicides.

Keywords: Biocontrol, Antifungal, antagonistic, Karnal bunt

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