[en] apple ; Bacillus subtilis ; biological control ; biopesticide ; fengycin ; grey mould ; lipopeptide
[en] AIM: Test of Bacillus subtilis strain GA1 for its potential to control grey mould disease of apple caused by Botrytis cinerea. METHODS AND RESULTS: GA1 was first tested for its ability to antagonize in vitro the growth of a wide variety of plant pathogenic fungi responsible for diseases of economical importance. The potential of strain GA1 to reduce post-harvest infection caused by B. cinerea was tested on apples by treating artificially wounded fruits with endospore suspensions. Strain GA1 was very effective at reducing disease incidence during the first 5 days following pathogen inoculation and a 80% protection level was maintained over the next 10 days. Treatment of fruits with an extract of GA1 culture supernatant also exerted a strong preventive effect on the development of grey mould. Further analysis of this extract revealed that strain GA1 produces a wide variety of antifungal lipopeptide isomers from the iturin, fengycin and surfactin families. A strong evidence for the involvement of such compounds in disease reduction arose from the recovery of fengycins from protected fruit sites colonized by bacterial cells. CONCLUSIONS: The results presented here demonstrate that, despite unfavourable pH, B. subtilis endospores inoculated on apple pulp can readily germinate allowing significant cell populations to establish and efficient in vivo synthesis of lipopeptides which could be related to grey mould reduction. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: This work enables for the first time to correlate the strong protective effect of a particular B. subtilis strain against grey mould with in situ production of fengycins in infected sites of apple fruits.