Five strains of Streptomyces sp. were evaluated in vitro for their ability of inhibiting the mycelial growth of Macrophomina phaseolina, the causal agent of root rot of mung bean (Vigna radiata L.). Among the Streptomyces sp. strains tested, PDK showed the maximum in vitro inhibition of mycelial growth of M. phaseolina and recorded an inhibition zone of 21 mm. The strains CBE, MDU, SA and ANR recorded inhibition zones of 18, 16, 13 and 11 mm, respectively. These Streptomyces sp. strains were tested for their growth-promoting efficiency on mung bean seedlings. Among them, CBE and PDK recorded the maximum increase in shoot length, root length and seedling vigour compared with control, followed by MDU. Three Streptomyces sp. strains (CBE, MDU and PDK) that showed higher levels of inhibition of growth of M. phaseolina in dual culture assay and plant growth-promoting activity were tested for their biocontrol activity against root rot under greenhouse and field conditions. Seed treatment or soil application with powder formulation of Streptomyces sp. strains CBE, MDU and PDK was effective in controlling root rot disease; but, combined application through seed and soil increased the efficacy in both the greenhouse and field trials. Among the treatments, seed treatment plus soil application with powder formulation of Streptomyces sp. strain CBE proved to be most effective, which reduced the root rot incidence from 26.8% (with non-bacterised seeds) to 4.0% in Trial I and from 32.0 to 4.9% in Trial II. The above treatment recorded the highest yield in both the field trials, and the yield increase was 78 and 74% over control in Trial I and Trial II, respectively. Isozyme analysis of the Streptomyces sp.-treated plants indicates that seed treatment plus soil application strongly induce the activities of peroxidase (PO-1 and PO-2) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO-2 and PPO-3) in mung bean. Among the three strains tested, Streptomyces sp. strain MDU- treated plants showed higher levels of activities of PO and PPO. Based on the above findings, it can be concluded that both the direct inhibition of pathogen and induced resistance might be involved in the control of root rot of mung bean by Streptomyces sp.
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