The Groundsman

April 2012

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32 FEATURE Inhibition of the pathogen the Groundsman April 2012 Principle of the double effect of Bacillus subtilis Plant growth promoting competition for ● space ● nutrients pathogen antibiosis ● production of anti- fungal substances ● enzyme activity Bacillus subtilis plant growth promoting effect ● phytohormones ● vitamins ● siderophores susceptibility resistance turf As with so many things in life, not all strains of Bs and Ba are the same; Bacillus work in symbiosis with the fine root hairs to create a live barrier protecting the root that disease can't penetrate. The important thing to know is that most strains of bacillus remain near the surface leaving fresh root growth vulnerable to attack by pathogens. B subtilis strain E4-CDX and B amyloliquefaciens R6-CDX are unique strains that move with the developing root, maintaining a barrier and antibiotic affect against pathogen attack for the entire root mass. This coverage of the whole root ensures disease has no opportunity to set infection. The most effective higher quality strains such as E4-CDX and R6-CDX are the commercial property of the maintaining company and are exclusive to their products, in the same way as the high performing grass cultivars bred by a seed company would be exclusive to the grass seed mixtures of that company. If a turf professional desires the best performance from Bs and Ba, they should seek out these better performing strains. What can a grounds professional do to promote the activity of Bs and Ba? Bs and Ba are aerobic bacteria, so they need oxygen to interact with the plant roots and create the enzymes required to increase nutrient availability. Basic turf management principles of maintaining a well aerated soil profile, with good structure to facilitate gas exchange through regular verticutting, aerating and top dressing are paramount. With regards to timing, the soil temperature needs to be in excess of 10°C for most rhizobacteria to be active and therefore application during the winter months would not yield optimum results. The key is to be organised; applications during optimal conditions will see the turf benefit through a growth ISR (induced systematic resistance) promoting effect and pathogen inhibitions, and this will result in a healthier disease-free sward with the greatest possible chance of thriving during a harsh winter. Bacillus subtilis E4-CDX and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens R6-CDX are included in the Fertilis and Vitanica RZ products manufactured by Compo and available exclusively through British Seed Houses – [1] Saharan, BS., Nehra, V. et al. (2011) Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria: A Critical Review, Life Sciences and Medicine Research, vol. 2011: LSMR-21, 1. [2] Fleming, CC., Craig, D. Hainon- McDowell., M., The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, UK; Entwistle, K. The Turf Disease Centre, UK et al. (2008) [3] Idriss, EE., Makarewicz, O., Farouk A., Rosner, K., Greiner, R., Bochow, H., Richter, T. & Borriss, R. et al. (2002) Extracellular phytase activity of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens FZB45 contributes to its plant-growth-promoting effect, Microbiology vol. 148, no. 7, 2097. All images by kind permission of Dr. Lord, COMPO Expert R&D. V B acillus RX6-CDX i tanica RZ Seedling Blight

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