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PROJECT TOPIC AND MATERIAL ON INDIGENOUS PSEUDOMONAS SEPP. STRAINS FROM THE OLIVE OLEA EUROPAEA L. RHIZOSPHERE AS EFFECTIVE BIOCONTROL AGENTS AGAINST VERTICILLIUM DAHLIAE: FROM THE HOST ROOTS TO THE BACTERIAL GENOMES
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- Name: Indigenous Pseudomonas Sepp. Strains From The Olive Olea europaea l. Rhizosphere as Effective Biocontrol Agents Against Verticillium Dahliae: From The Host Roots To The Bacterial Genomes
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Cultivated olive (Olea europaea L. subsp. europaea var. europaea) is one of the most important oil crops in the world. It constitutes an agro-ecosystem of major relevance for the Mediterranean Basin since 90% of the global olive oil and table olive production is concentrated in this area (FAOSTAT, 2016) 1. Severe losses, and even tree death, are caused by a range of olive pathogens. Among them, the soilborne fungus Verticillium dahliae Kleb., causing Verticillium wilt of olive (VWO), represents a major threat in many regions where this tree is cultivated. Currently, however, no individual measure has proven effective to control VWO, and an integrated disease management strategy is therefore highly recommended (López-Escudero and Mercado-Blanco, 2011). Within this holistic framework, the development and implementation of sustainable and eco-friendly disease control measures is essential.
Plants have co-evolved with specific communities of microorganisms (i.e., the plant microbiome) that play crucial roles for the host’s development and health (Berg et al., 2017). Moreover, many components of the plant-associated microbiome, particularly at the rhizosphere level, may constitute the first line of defense against soilborne pathogens (Weller et al., 2007). Hence, the plant rhizosphere constitutes an important, yet insufficiently explored, reservoir of microorganisms with antagonist ability against pathogens. In this sense, the isolation, identification, and characterization of microorganisms with biocontrol potential and able of colonize, endure, and be adapted to a complex niche such as the rhizosphere constitute an interesting disease management strategy. The utilization of biological control agents (BCAs) to suppress pathogens has been studied in several pathosystems involving woody plants (e.g., Pliego and Cazorla, 2012; Kalai-Grami et al., 2014), although it has been implemented to a lesser extent compared to herbaceous species, annual crops, and seedlings (Cazorla and Mercado-Blanco, 2016). Moreover, available information on the diversity and structure of microbial communities associated with woody plants is scant (e.g., Aranda et al., 2011; Zarraonaindia et al., 2015), particularly at the nursery propagation stage (Sun et al., 2014). Likewise, our understanding on woody plant-BCA-pathogen interactions are still limited, i.e., mechanisms underlying biological control, influence of environmental factors, effectiveness of BCAs, interaction between a BCA and the plant microbiome once the former is released, BCA colonization ability, or plant responses to the BCA are issues that still need to be studied in more detail (Cazorla and Mercado-Blanco, 2016). In this sense, omics technologies are contributing to enhance our understanding of these tripartite interactions (Massart et al., 2015). However, their implementation in woody plants is considerably lower than in herbaceous species (e.g., Mgbeahuruike et al., 2013; Gómez-Lama Cabanás et al., 2014; Martínez-García et al., 2015b).