Biosourcing Endophytes as Biocontrol Agents of Wilt Diseases



Endophytes are the centre of many investigations in the recent years, mainly for their role as biological control agents towards various pathogens. Of the many types of phytopathogens, wilt pathogens are thought to benefit the most from application of endophytes. Wilt pathogens colonize internal plant tissues, especially the vascular tissues, which are also a common colonization niche for endophytes. The pre-colonization of biocontrol endophytes has been shown to render some form of protection to the host plant, resulting in disease suppression when challenged with the pathogen. Investigations to identify potential biocontrol agents are commonly initiated by performing extensive isolation and screening of endophytes from various asymptomatic host plants. This is followed by in vitro assays with selected pathogens, with various mechanisms of their antagonistic interaction established. Isolates with strong biocontrol activities are subsequently tested at the glasshouse and field stage to determine biocontrol efficacy. To date, tremendous progress has been made in understanding the diversity and mechanisms of control of endophytes against wilt pathogens. Their biocontrol efficacies are evident in laboratory screenings and glasshouse trials. In field trials however, poor control efficacy is often observed, attributed to the influence of indigenous microflora in the soil and environmental conditions. To address these limitations, bioformulation of endophytes is explored. This article will discuss the endophytes identified as biocontrol agents against wilt pathogens, the typical methods for biosourcing of these biocontrol endophytes, the challenges in implementing endophytes for wilt control and strategies to address these limitations.


Host Plant Biocontrol Agent Fusarium Wilt Verticillium Wilt Bacterial Wilt 



The author extends her gratitude to the mentoring of Professor Dr. Sariah Meon and Associate Professor Dr. Jugah Kadir from Universiti Putra Malaysia for their invaluable insights on the field of biological control. The author also acknowledges Monash University Sunway Campus for the opportunity to continue with the pursuit of research in endophytes. Last but not least, the author is indebted to the Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the Malaysian Ministry of Agriculture, for the fellowship and funding that enabled the publication of key results by the author discussed here.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ScienceMonash University Sunway CampusBandar Sunway, Darul EhsanMalaysia

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