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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02726

Endophytes and epiphytes from the grapevine leaf microbiome as potential biocontrol agents against phytopathogens

 Sébastien Bruisson1, Monica Zufferey1, Floriane L'Haridon1,  Eva Trutmann1,  Abhishek Anand1, Agnès Dutartre1,  Mout De Vrieze1 and  Laure Weisskopf1*
  • 1Université de Fribourg, Switzerland

Plants harbor diverse microbial communities that colonize both below-ground and above-ground organs. Some bacterial members of these rhizosphere and phyllosphere microbial communities have been shown to contribute to plant defenses against pathogens. In this study, we characterize the pathogen-inhibiting potential of 78 bacterial isolates retrieved from endophytic and epiphytic communities living in the leaves of three grapevine cultivars. We selected two economically relevant pathogens, the fungus Botrytis cinerea causing grey mold and the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, which we used as a surrogate for Plasmopara viticola causing downy mildew. Our results showed that epiphytic isolates were phylogenetically more diverse than endophytic isolates, the latter mostly consisting of Bacillus and Staphylococcus strains, but that mycelial inhibition of both pathogens through bacterial diffusible metabolites was more widespread among endophytes than among epiphytes. Six closely related Bacillus strains induced strong inhibition (>60%) of Botrytis cinerea mycelial growth. Among these, five led to significant perturbation in spore germination, ranging from full inhibition to reduction in germination rate and germ tube length. Different types of spore developmental anomalies were observed for different strains, suggesting multiple active compounds with different modes of action on this pathogen. Compared with B. cinerea, the oomycete P. infestans was inhibited in its mycelial growth by a higher number and more diverse group of isolates, including many Bacillus but also Variovorax, Pantoea, Staphylococcus, Herbaspirillum or Sphingomonas strains. Beyond mycelial growth, both zoospore and sporangia germination were strongly perturbed upon exposure to cells or cell-free filtrates of selected isolates. Moreover, three strains (all epiphytes) inhibited the pathogen’s growth via the emission of volatile compounds. The comparison of the volatile profiles of two of these active strains with those of two phylogenetically closely related, inactive strains led to the identification of molecules possibly involved in the observed volatile-mediated pathogen growth inhibition, including trimethylpyrazine, dihydrochalcone, and L-dihydroxanthurenic acid. This work demonstrates that grapevine leaves are a rich source of bacterial antagonists with strong inhibition potential against two pathogens of high economical relevance. It further suggests that combining diffusible metabolite-secreting endophytes with volatile-emitting epiphytes might be a promising multi-layer strategy for biological control of above-ground pathogens.

Keywords: Endophytes, epiphytes, Bacillus, Botrytis cinerea, Phytophthora infestans, volatiles

Received: 13 Aug 2019; Accepted: 08 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Bruisson, Zufferey, L'Haridon, Trutmann, Anand, Dutartre, De Vrieze and Weisskopf. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Laure Weisskopf, Université de Fribourg, Fribourg, 1700, Fribourg, Switzerland,