Research objectives and content
Biological control of plant diseases is a safe for the environment alternative for chemical control. However, it requires further improvement in case of biocontrol of soil-borne fungal pathogens by rhizobacteria. The objectives of this project are: (1) to select bacterial strains among Pseudomonas, Bacillus and Streptomyces species which show effective biocontrol of soil-born pathogenic fungi that affect tomato roots (including Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici, Pythium ultimum and Rhizoctonia solani), (2)to visualize the root colonization patterns of the fungi and the selected biocontrol bacteria and also to determine the nature of the interactions between the | pathogenic fungi and the biocontrol bacteria. Different autofluorescent proteins will be used as reporters and microscopic examination will be carried out using confocal laser and two photon microscopy. The biocontrol effect in pairs of fungusbiocontrol bacterium will be studied also by microscopy. The results will contribute to a better understanding of microbial interactions in the rhizosphere which can lead to a more efficient application of biocontrol. Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
Training includes fungal and bacterial genetics (a new field of knowledge for the candidate) and use of highly sophisticated microscopy equipment (available in only a few laboratories all over Europe).
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
Successful combinations of pathogenic fungus-biocontrol bacterium will be tested under industrial conditions at Novartis Seeds, Enkhuizen, NL.