Molecular characterization of bacteria from genera Bacillus and Pseudomonas as potential agents for biological control

Principal Investigator: dr Djordje Fira

            Bacterial strains that produce antimicrobial compounds play an important role in the food industry, agriculture and pharmaceutical industry. In pseudomonads, many strains produce different antifungal and antibacterial compounds, and some of them are used as biocontrol agents (Pseudomonas fluorescens, P. putida). In Bacillus group, many strains of B. subtilis, B. amyloliquefaciens and related species produce lipopeptides with antimicrobial and antifungal activity, such as iturins, surfactins and fengycins. Beside nonribosomally synthesized lipopeptides which are the dominant antimicrobial compounds in Bacillus, some strains also produce bacteriocins. Therefore, the aim of the proposed project is the isolation and molecular characterization of bacterial strains from the soil, particularly natural isolates from the genus Bacillus and plant associated pseudomonads, focusing on the strains with potential for use as biocontrol agents. The collections of natural isolates of Bacillus and pseudomonads will be subjected to the screening for antimicrobial activity against relevant plant pathogens. Second part of the project will be the analysis of the structure of antimicrobial compounds and identification of the genes responsible for their biosynthesis. The project will also include the molecular characterization of the most virulent, newly isolated plant pathogens and the experiments in planta, in order to confirm the capacity of tested strains for use in biological control.

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