Inoculation with bacterial endophytes and the fungal root endophyte, Piriformospora indica improves plant growth and reduces foliar infection by Phytophthora capsici in black pepper

Teenu Paul, N.S. Nysanth, M.S. Yashaswini, K. N. Anith


Foot rot disease caused by the oomycete fungus Phytophthora capsici is one of the major problems faced by black pepper growers. Two bacterial endophytes, Bacillus velezensis PCSE10 and Rhizobium radiobacter PCRE 10 isolated from the wild relative of black pepper, Piper colubrinum, and the root endophytic fungus, Piriformospora indica and their combined effect were evaluated for plant growth promotion and suppression of foliar infection caused by P. capsici in bush pepper plants (var. Panniyur 1). B. velezensis PCSE10 exhibited in vitro antagonism against P. capsici. In a detached leaf assay, R. radiobacter PCRE10 significantly reduced the lesion size. R. radiobacter PCRE10 was found to be compatible with P. indica in dual culture plate assay. Suppression of foliar infection of P. capsici in plants treated with the individual endophytes and their combination was assessed by challenge inoculation with the pathogen on the foliage. Plants treated with combination of P. indica and R. radiobacter PCRE10 recorded lowest lesion size (0.43 cm), which recorded 10.41 per cent disease suppression over the pathogen control with the lowest disease index of 0.2. Disease suppression on inoculation with P. indica was the least compared to all other treatments. Combined application of P. indica and R. radiobacter PCRE10 as well as single inoculation of P. indica showed discernible improvement in growth parameters of bush pepper (var. Panniyur 1). Plants treated with single inoculation of P. indica showed the highest fungal root colonization of 35.50% followed by the combination of P. indica and B. velezensis (31.10%), as well as P. indica and R. radiobacter PCRE10 (19.35%).

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