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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Rhizobacteria Suppressive to the Weed Downy Brome


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 55 No. 3, p. 722-727
    Received: Apr 30, 1990

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. A. C. Kennedy ,
  2. F. L. Young,
  3. L. F. Elliott and
  4. C. L. Douglas
  1. USDA-ARS, Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA 99164-6421
    USDA-ARS, Corvallis, OR 97331
    USDA-ARS, Columbia Plateau Research Station, Pendleton, OR 97801



Rhizobacteria have the potential to suppress plant growth. We evaluated the effect of native pseudomonads on downy brome (Bromus tectorum L.), a troublesome weed in small-grain-producing lands. Pseudomonas spp. were isolated from winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and downy brome roots and tested to determine their potential as biological control agents for this weed. Pseudomonads were screened in agar and soil for inhibition of downy brome root growth and lack of inhibition of winter wheat root growth. Of more than 1000 isolates tested, 81 inhibited downy brome and not winter wheat in the agar seedling bioassay. Six isolates consistently inhibited downy brome growth and not winter wheat in soil contained in pots in the growth chamber. In nursery field trials in which downy brome was planted in rows and adequately fertilized, some of the bacterial isolates reduced downy brome populations up to 30% and shoot dry weight up to 42%. Field studies were also conducted at three sites in eastern Washington in which brome-inhibitory bacteria were applied to wheat fields infested with natural populations of downy brome. Of the three isolates studied in the field, two reduced plant populations and aboveground growth of downy brome up to 31 and 53%, respectively, compared with noninoculated controls. At two of the three locations, winter wheat yields were increased 18 to 35% because of the suppression of downy brome growth. Brome-suppressive bacteria isolated from the rhizoplane of winter wheat and downy brome can be used as biological control agents for downy brome.

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