Activation of sweet pepper defense responses by novel and known biocontrol agents of the genus Bacillus against Botrytis cinerea and Verticillium dahliae

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Calvo, Javier
Barquero, Marcia
González Andrés, Fernando



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The Fresno-Benavente Pepper (F-BP) Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is a horticultural crop characterized by its great agronomic, economic and cultural importance in the region of Castilla y León (Spain). Field production is threatened by verticillium wilt caused by Verticillium dahliae and postharvest losses due to grey mould caused by Botrytis cinerea. Eight Bacillus spp. strains endophytically isolated from F-BP roots were used in the study. By conducting an in vitro antagonism study, we found that all Bacillus strains were effective against B. cinerea and five of them showed high antagonism against V. dahliae, with B. siamensis and B. proteolyticus strains being the most effective against both pathogens. Eight Bacillus strains were used for an infection test in F-BP fruits and plants to test their activity against both fungal pathogens. We report that Bacillus thuringiensis, B. siamensis and B. pumilus (SCFC 1–2) could control B. cinerea in pepper fruits through direct action and local activation of plant defences. In the case of V. dahliae root infection, plant roots inoculated with B. siamensis and B. proteolyticus were able to significantly decrease the occurrence of disease through direct action and local activation of jasmonic acid as a defence response. Therefore, we propose that B. siamensis could be used to control B. cinerea and V. dahliae in F-BP fruits and plants, respectively, through direct antagonism as well as the induction of local plant defence responses.


Antagonism, Bacillus siamensis, Botrytis cinerea, Pepper, Plant defenses, Verticillium dahliae


Institute for Multidisciplinary Research in Applied Biology - IMAB



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Open Access funding provided by Universidad Pública de Navarra. This work was supported by the Instituto de Estudios Zamoranos “Florián de Ocampo” (IEZFO) as part of the XXVIII Call for Research Grants in 2020.

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