Combinations of Biocontrol Agents for Management of Plant-Parasitic Nematodes and Soilborne Plant-Pathogenic Fungi


  • Susan L. F. Meyer
  • Daniel P. Roberts


bacteria, biocontrol, combination, fungi, microbe, nematode


Numerous microbes are antagonistic to plant-parasitic nematodes and soilborne plant-pathogenic fungi, but few of these organisms are commercially available for management of these pathogens. Inconsistent performance of applied biocontrol agents has proven to be a primary obstacle to the development of successful commercial products. One of the strategies for overcoming inconsistent performance is to combine the disease-suppressive activity of two (or more) beneficial microbes in a biocontrol preparation. Such combinations have potential for more extensive colonization of the rhizosphere, more consistent expression of beneficial traits under a broad range of soil conditions, and antagonism to a larger number of plant pests or pathogens than strains applied individually. Conversely, microbes applied in combination also may have antagonistic interactions with each other. Increased, decreased, and unaltered suppression of the target pathogen or pest has been observed when biocontrol microbes have been applied in combination. Unfortunately, the ecological basis for increased or decreased suppression has not been determined in many cases and needs further consideration. The complexity of interactions involved in the application of multiple organisms for biological control has slowed progress toward development of successful formulations. However, this approach has potential for overcoming some of the efficacy problems that occur with application of individual biocontrol agents.