Certain strains of fluorescent pseudomonads are important biological components of agricultural soils that are suppressive to diseases caused by pathogenic fungi on crop plants. The biocontrol abilities of such strains depend essentially on aggressive root colonization, induction of systemic resistance in the plant, and the production of diffusible or volatile antifungal antibiotics. Evidence that these compounds are produced in situ is based on their chemical extraction from the rhizosphere and on the expression of antibiotic biosynthetic genes in the producer strains colonizing plant roots. Well-characterized antibiotics with biocontrol properties include phenazines, 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol, pyoluteorin, pyrrolnitrin, lipopeptides, and hydrogen cyanide. In vitro, optimal production of these compounds occurs at high cell densities and during conditions of restricted growth, involving () a number of transcriptional regulators, which are mostly pathway-specific, and () the GacS/GacA two-component system, which globally exerts a positive effect on the production of extracellular metabolites at a posttranscriptional level. Small untranslated RNAs have important roles in the GacS/GacA signal transduction pathway. One challenge in future biocontrol research involves development of new strategies to overcome the broad toxicity and lack of antifungal specificity displayed by most biocontrol antibiotics studied so far.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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