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Culturable bacterial diversity from the chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) phyllosphere and antagonism against the fungi causing the chestnut blight and ink diseases

1 Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología de Salamanca (IRNASA), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), 37008 Salamanca, Spain
2 Departamento de Microbiología y Genética, Universidad de Salamanca, 37007 Salamanca, Spain
3 Unidad Asociada Universidad de Salamanca-CSIC (IRNASA), Salamanca, Spain
4 Department of Genetics, Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0028, South Africa
5 Estación Biológica de Doñana, 41001 Sevilla, Spain
6 Escuela de Producción Agropecuaria, Group GRICA (Grupo de Investigación en Ciencias Agrarias), Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia

Special Issues: Plant probiotic bacteria: solutions to feed the World

The phyllosphere supports a large and complex bacterial community that varies both across plant species and geographical locations. Phyllosphere bacteria can have important effects on plant health. The sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) is an economically important tree species affected worldwide by the fungal pathogens Cryphonectria parasitica and Phytophthora cinnamomi. We examined the culturable phyllosphere bacterial community of the sweet chestnut at two nearby locations in Central Spain in order to know its geographical variability and to explore its potential as source of biological control agents against these two pathogenic fungi. The bacterial diversity at strain level was high but it varied significantly between locations; however, phylotype richness and diversity were more comparable. The isolates were affiliated with the phyla Actinobacteria, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. Most of them were members of recognized bacterial species, with a notable proportion of representative of the genera Dietzia and Lonsdalea, but a small fraction of the strains revealed the existence of several potential novel species or even genera. Antagonism tests showed the occurrence in the chestnut phyllosphere of bacterial strains potentially useful as biological control agents against the two pathogenic fungi, some of which belong to species never before described as fungal antagonists. Chestnut phyllosphere, therefore, contains a great diversity of culturable bacteria and may represent an untapped source of potential biocontrol agents against the fungi causing blight and ink diseases of this tree species.
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