ABSTRACT Two strains of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), Bacillus pumilus SE34 and Pseudomonas fluorescens 89B61, elicited systemic protection against late blight on tomato and reduced disease severity by a level equivalent to systemic acquired resistance induced by Phytophthora infestans or induced local resistance by chemical inducer beta-amino butyric acid (BABA) in greenhouse assays. Germination of sporangia and zoospores of P. infestans on leaf surfaces of tomato plants treated with the two PGPR strains, pathogen, and chemical BABA was significantly reduced compared with the noninduced control. Induced protection elicited by PGPR, pathogen, and BABA were examined to determine the signal transduction pathways in three tomato lines: salicylic acid (SA)-hydroxylase transgenic tomato (nahG), ethylene insensitive mutants (Nr/Nr), and jasmonic acid insensitive mutants (def1). Results suggest that induced protection elicited by both bacilli and pseudomonad PGPR strains was SA-independent but ethylene- and jasmonic acid-dependent, whereas systemic acquired resistance elicited by the pathogen and induced local resistance by BABA were SA-dependent. The lack of colonization of tomato leaves by strain 89B61 suggests that the observed induced systemic resistance (ISR) was due to systemic protection by strain 89B61 and not attributable to a direct interaction between pathogen and biological control agent. Although strain SE34 was detected on tomato leaves, ISR mainly accounted for the systemic protection with this strain.
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