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Data from: Seasonal variation in the biocontrol efficiency of bacterial wilt is driven by temperature-mediated changes in bacterial competitive interactions

Citation

Wei, Zhong et al. (2018), Data from: Seasonal variation in the biocontrol efficiency of bacterial wilt is driven by temperature-mediated changes in bacterial competitive interactions, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.50584

Abstract

1. Microbe-based biocontrol applications hold the potential to become an efficient way to control plant pathogen disease outbreaks in the future. However, their efficiency is still very variable, which could be due to their sensitivity to the abiotic environmental conditions. 2. Here we assessed how environmental temperature variation correlates with the Ralstonia pickettii, an endophytic bacterial biocontrol agent, ability to suppress Ralstonia solanacearum pathogen during different tomato crop seasons in China. 3. We found that the pathogen suppression was highest when the seasonal mean temperatures were around 20 °C and rapidly decreased with increasing mean crop season temperatures. Interestingly, low levels of disease incidence did not correlate with low pathogen or high biocontrol agent absolute densities. Instead, the biocontrol to pathogen density ratio was more important predictor of disease incidence levels between different crop season. To understand this mechanistically, we measured the growth and strength of competition between the biocontrol agent and the pathogen over a naturally occurring temperature gradient in vitro. We found that the biocontrol strain grew relatively faster at low, and the pathogen at high temperature ranges, and that similar to field experiments, pathogen suppression peaked at 20° C. 4. Together our results suggest that temperature-mediated changes in the strength of bacterial competition could potentially explain the variable R. solanacearum biocontrol outcomes between different crop seasons in China. 5. Synthesis and applications. Bacterial strains that can retain their functionality regardless of the environmental conditions (i.e. have flat reaction norms), could be good candidate species for developing more consistent biocontrol applications.

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