Discovering Myxomycetes: towards applications for bio-control

  • 28th November 2017
  • by secretary

Discovering Myxomycetes: towards applications for bio-control
Myxomycetes are a class of Amoebozoa of which only few practical applications are published in literature. This article reports the first results towards the use of selected slime mould species as antagonist in agricultural applications.

Antagonists in this context are organisms used to control plant pathogens, protecting the plant host against invasion by e.g. bacteria and fungi. Mycotoxigenic fungi from the Genera Fusarium, Aspergillus, Penicillium and Alternaria as well as selected plant pathogenic bacteria were used in the tests.

Myxomycetes were collected from maize plants in 2015 and 2016 at the end of the growth season. Five different species including soil-borne Physarum and Didymium spp. were identified. It was demonstrated that slime moulds can have at least 3 different known types of antagonism:

  1. direct antagonism due to feeding (phagocytosis) on fungal spores and plant pathogenic bacteria, 
  2. indirect antagonism due to antibiotic and antimycotic activity in the glycocalyx and solubilisation of fungal mycelium using extracellular lytic enzymes, and 
  3. competition for feed such as plant pollen and anthers which are required nutrient sources for specific plant pathogens (e.g. Fusarium species) during plant infection.

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