The main objective is to screen and evaluate the biopesticide potential of selected bacterial strains that are indigenous to the Canadian Prairies and determine their ability to control disease development and growth of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in canola.
Five bacterial strains were found to inhibit ascospore germination, mycelial growth and sclerotial formation of S. sclerotiorum. All plants sprayed with bacterial strain PENSV20 in the presence of the pathogen had no symptoms of the disease and plant defense genes were trig gered when sprayed 24 hours before and 24 hours after the pathogen. A canola petal bioassay was conducted that revealed spraying theascospores onto petals along with the bacterial biopesticide reduced ascospore germination. The canola petal bioassay and the results from the plant defense genes corroborate the results that one of the mechanisms is the induction of host plant defense genes. The second mechanism appears to be the production of bacterial secondary metabolites that possess antifungal activity against the pathogen. The full genome of the leading bacterial biopesticide strain was sequenced. The use of genomic databases will be used to conduct comparative genomics in order to identify genes that help determine biopesticidal properties responsible for antagonism against S. sclerotiorum.