Black pepper production in Malaysia was restricted by various diseases. Hazardous chemical products appear to be the best solution to control diseases in black pepper cultivation. However, persistence of chemical residues in peppercorns could affect the quality of exports and consumptions. Application of fertilizers is crucial to sustain pepper growth and high yield. But, continuous use of chemical fertilizers could affect the soil ecosystem and eventually restrict nutrient uptake by pepper roots. Therefore, we propose biological approaches as an alternative solution instead of chemical products to sustain pepper cultivation in Malaysia. In this study, we have isolated a total of seven indigenous rhizobacteria antagonistic to soil-borne Fusarium solani, the causal fungus of slow decline, the most serious debilitating disease of black pepper in Malaysia. The isolated bacteria were identified as Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus siamensis, Brevibacillus gelatini, Pseudomonas geniculata, Pseudomonas beteli, Burkholderia ubonensis and Burkholderia territorii. These bacteria were effective in production of antifungal siderophore with the amount of 53.4 %–73.5 % per 0.5 mL of cell-free supernatants. The bacteria also produced appreciable amount of chitinase with chitinolytic index was ranged from 1.19 to 1.76. The bacteria have shown phosphate solubilizing index within 1.61 to 2.01. They were also efficient in ACC deaminase (0.52 mM–0.62 mM) and ammonia (60.3 mM–75.3 mM) production. The isolated antagonists were efficacious in stimulation of black pepper plant growth and root development through IAA (10.5 μg/mL–42.6 μg/mL) secretion. In conclusion, the isolated rhizobacteria are potent to be developed not only as biocontrol agents to minimize the utilization of hazardous chemicals in black pepper disease management, but also developed as bio-fertilizers to improve black pepper plant growth due to their capabilities in plant growth-promotion.
- Black pepper
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