Interactions between Indigenous Endophyte Bacillus subtilis L1-21 and Nutrients inside Citrus in Reducing Huanglongbing Pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter Asiaticus

Asad et al. (2021). Pathogens 10 (10)
Names (2)
General Immunology and Microbiology Immunology and Allergy Infectious Diseases Microbiology (medical) Molecular Biology
Huanglongbing (HLB) pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) brings a great concern about the phloem nutrient transport in diseased plants. There is an urgent need to find the best management strategies to reduce the losses in the citrus industry worldwide. Endophytic bacteria are negatively affected by CLas pathogen, and these endophytes are associated with improved availability of nutrients and pathogen resistance. This study underpins the relationship between CLas pathogen, endophyte population and nutrients availability in citrus plants. The citrus plants were treated with Bacillus subtilis L1-21 and Hoagland solution to find out synergism efficacy to mitigate citrus HLB. We showed that citrus shoots in the presence of 50% Hoagland solution displayed maximum number of endophytes with 6.28 × 103 to 3.04 × 105 CFU/g. Among 50 candidate strains, B. subtilis L1-21 emerged as potential antagonist against surrogate strain Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri. The citrus half-leaf method identified that application of endophyte L1-21 with 50% Hoagland solution successfully reduces the CLas abundance. We point out that this combination results in a higher number of endophytes population with 2.52 × 104 to 9.11 × 106 CFU/g after 60 days, and reduces CLas pathogen abundance in asymptomatic HLB plants. In HLB symptomatic citrus plants, B. subtilis L1-21 potentially increases the endophyte population from 1.11 × 104 to 5.26 × 107 CFU/g in the presence of Hoagland solution, and pathogen abundance was reduced from 9.51 × 105 to 1.06 × 104 copies/g. Altogether, we suggested that the presence of endophyte L1-21 with Hoagland solution is more effective in HLB asymptomatic citrus plants, but a slight reduction of pathogen was observed in symptomatic plants. The findings revealed the role of indigenous citrus endophyte B. subtilis L1-21 along with other nutrients in the reduction of CLas pathogen abundance inside symptomatic and asymptomatic plants in citrus endophyte–nutrient–pathogen interplay.
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