Identification of novel aphid‐killing bacteria to protect plants

Deepa Paliwal, Amanda J. Hamilton, Glyn Barrett, Fabrizio Alberti, Helmut van Emden, Caroline Monteil, Tim Mauchline, Ralf Nauen, Carol Wagstaff, Chris Bass, Robert Jackson

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Abstract

Aphids, including the peach-potato aphid, Myzus persicae, are major insect pests of agriculture and horticulture, and aphid control measures are limited. There is therefore an urgent need to develop alternative and more sustainable means of control. Recent studies have shown that environmental microbes have varying abilities to kill insects. We screened a range of environmental bacteria isolates for their abilities to kill target aphid species. Tests demonstrated the killing aptitude of these bacteria against six aphid genera (including Myzus persicae). No single bacterial strain was identified that was consistently toxic to insecticide-resistant aphid clones than susceptible clones, suggesting resistance to chemicals is not strongly correlated with bacterial challenge. Pseudomonas fluorescens PpR24 proved the most toxic to almost all aphid clones whilst exhibiting the ability to survive for over three weeks on three plant species at populations of 5–6 log CFU cm−2 leaf. Application of PpR24 to plants immediately prior to introducing aphids onto the plants led to a 68%, 57% and 69% reduction in aphid populations, after 21 days, on Capsicum annuum, Arabidopsis thaliana and Beta vulgaris respectively. Together, these findings provide new insights into aphid susceptibility to bacterial infection with the aim of utilizing bacteria as effective biocontrol agents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203-1220
Number of pages18
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Volume15
Issue number4
Early online date1 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
AJH was funded by an award (project number CP082) from The Horticultural Development Company (now Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) to RWJ. FA was supported by an ERASMUS study abroad award. We thank Neal Ward, Martin Emmett and Jon Knight for invaluable guidance and industry support and Vic Eastop for guidance on plant species to target for bacterial isolation.

Funding Information:
AJH was funded by an award (project number CP082) from The Horticultural Development Company (now Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) to RWJ. FA was supported by an ERASMUS study abroad award.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Microbial Biotechnology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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