Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada
Title: Isolation, characterization and application of beneficial bacteria for sustainable agriculture and horticulture
Biography: Ze-Chun Yuan
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides have been heavily used in agriculture and horticulture food production, resulting in serious concerns including food safety and eco-system sustainability. Plant growth promoting bacteria are able to improve plant health and productivity and reduce pathogens and diseases, representing an ecologically-friendly alternative to chemical fertilizers and pesticides. We recently isolated various beneficial bacterial species including Paenibacillus polymyxa CR1 (BMC Genomics 2014; Frontiers in Microbiology 2015; BMC Microbiology 2016); Bacillus velezensis strain 9D-6 (BMC Microbiology 2019); Bacillus velezensis strain 1B-23 (GenBank Accession: NZ_CP033967.1) and Burkholderia cenocepacia CR318 (Genome Announcements 2017). These beneficial bacteria are capable of promoting crop health and inhibiting the growth of wide range of bacterial and fungal pathogens. In particular, Bacillus velezensis strain 9D-6 and 1B-23 produce surfactin, the most powerful biosurfactant. Surfactin aids in biocontrol through its antimicrobial action and through contribution to reducing biofilm formation. Our study further indicated that Bacillus velezensis strain 9D-6 and 1B-23 protect tomato plants from bacterial canker disease caused by Clavibacter michiganensis pv michiganensis. Interestingly, we found strain 1B-23 produces surfactin more efficiently at temperature between 16 to 20 °C. Our results suggest the potential of using beneficial bacteria to develop inoculants to protect agricultural important crops while reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, towards more sustainable agriculture and horticulture.