Most potential fungal antagonists have been identified only after exhaustive non-selective screening. Bacteria antagonistic to Botrytis cinerea were selected using a simple method based on techniques developed for trace enrichment studies, where a crude cell wall preparation from B. cinerea was used as a selective substrate and bacteria were isolated based on growth on cell wall agar media. Most of the 52 bacterial isolates that were obtained from the surface of 'organically grown' strawberry fruit and could grow on B. cinerea wall media in culture showed some ability to inhibit the growth of the fungus. Potato dextrose agar seeded with B. cinerea spores (104 ml-1) were challenged with each of these bacterial isolates at concentrations of 109 and 106 colony forming units ml-1. Eleven of the 52 isolates initially recovered, subsequently demonstrated strong antagonism in vitro and were selected for additional screening tests on strawberry fruit. All 11 isolates reduced grey mold rot incidence on fruit in storage. Three of the best isolates were tested in limited field trials, and also reduced grey mold rot on fruit under field conditions.
- Biological control
- Grey mold