Activity and efficacy of Bacillus subtilis strain NJ-18 against rice sheath blight and Sclerotinia stem rot of rape
A strain of Bacillus subtilis (NJ-18) with broad antimicrobial activity was screened in the laboratory and in the field. NJ-18 inhibited the in vitro radial extension of hyphae of the phytopathogenic fungi Rhizoctonia solani and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum . The bacterium apparently produced antifungal metabolites that diffused through the agar and caused abnormal swelling of hyphae. The in vitro data and observations indicated that one of the mechanisms of inhibition by NJ-18 is antibiosis. In field experiments for control of sheath blight of rice, fermentation of NJ-18 at 5.0 × 10 7 cfu ml −1 significantly reduced disease incidence and severity; NJ-18 alone or combined with 50% kresoxim-methyl treatment at 225 g ai ha −1 provided better control than 50% kresoxim-methyl at 225 g ai ha −1 or Jinggangmycin at 120 g ai ha −1 , and control by NJ-18 alone was as high as 100.0%. In field experiments for control of Sclerotinia stem rot of rape, fermentation of NJ-18 at 1.0 × 10 7 cfu ml −1 again significantly reduced disease incidence and severity; control by NJ-18 was as high as 77.1% and was comparable with control by 46% dimethachlon and better than control by 50% carbendazim at 750 g ai ha −1 . We conclude that strain NJ-18 of B. subtilis is a promising biological control agent and should be further studied and tested for control of sheath blight of rice, Sclerotinia stem rot of rape, and other diseases.