A glucanolytic Pseudomonas sp. associated with Smilax bona-nox L. displays strong activity against Phytophthora parasitica.
Biological control is an eco-friendly strategy for mitigating and controlling plant diseases with negligible effects on human health and environment. Biocontrol agents are mostly isolated from field crops, and microbiomes associated with wild native plants is underexplored. The main objective of this study was to characterize the bacterial isolates associated with Smilax bona-nox L, a successful wild plant with invasive growth habits. Forty morphologically distinct bacterial isolates were recovered from S. bona-nox. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing, these isolates belonged to 12 different genera namely Burkholderia, Pseudomonas, Xenophilus, Stenotrophomonas, Pantoea, Enterobactriaceae, Kosakonia, Microbacterium, Curtobacterium, Caulobacter, Lysinibacillus and Bacillus. Among them, Pseudomonas sp. EA6 and Pseudomonas sp. EA14 displayed the highest potential for inhibition of Phytophthora. Based on sequence analysis of rpoD gene, these isolates revealed a 97% identity with a Pseudomonas fluorescence strain. Bioactivity-driven assays for finding bioactive compounds revealed that crude proteins of Pseudomonas sp. EA6 inhibited mycelial growth of P. parasitica, whereas crude proteins of Pseudomonas sp. EA14 displayed negligible activity. Fractionation and enzymatic analyses revealed that the bioactivity of Pseudomonas sp. EA6 was mostly due to glucanolytic enzymes. Comparison of chromatographic profile and bioactivity assays indicated that the secreted glucanolytic enzymes consisted of β-1,3 and β-1,4 glucanases, which acted together in hydrolyzing Phytophthora cell walls. Since the biological activity of the crude glucanolytic extract was >60-fold higher than the purified β-1,3 glucanase, the glucanolytic enzyme system of Pseudomonas sp. EA6 likely acts synergistically in cell wall hydrolysis of P. parasitica.