Scientists from BelSU have revealed the ability of bacteria Janthinobacterium lividum to inhibit pathogens of crops - mold fungi. The antifungal activity of these bacteria is associated with the presence of a special pigment in them - violacein. According to the authors of the work, the discovered properties will allow in the future to use bacteria to protect agricultural crops from pathogens. This was reported to RT in the press service of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. The study is published in the journal Microorganisms.

Scientists have studied an indigenous strain of the bacterium Janthinobacterium lividum, isolated in the territory of the Belgorod region. The researchers jointly cultured bacteria and pathogenic fungi to find out how microorganisms affect each other's development.

It turned out that the bacteria Janthinobacterium lividum inhibit the growth of mold fungi dangerous to plants - alternaria and aspergillus. The growth of alternaria mycelium (the vegetative body of fungi) decreased by 10%, and aspergillus by 46.3% compared with control samples, where the fungi were not adjacent to Janthinobacterium lividum.

"Our assumptions that the bacterium is a mold antagonist have been empirically proven. So, it can be used in biological preparations that will be in demand in agricultural production, "said Nikita Lyakhovchenko, a graduate student at the BelSU Medical Institute, in an interview with RT.

  • Pathogenic fungi on the leaves of plants
  • © Aaron Cid Vázquez / EyeEm

According to scientists, such drugs will not be toxic to people when spraying the composition on plants. However, in order to develop and bring these funds to market, the authors still need to do additional research.

"We still have to work out a scheme for culturing a strain to obtain the largest possible amounts of violacein, develop a scheme for purifying the compound and test the prototype of the biological preparation being developed in real crop production," Inna Solyanikova, project manager, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Director of the Regional Microbiological Center, explained to RT.

Antagonism is common among microorganisms: when some types of bacteria or fungi suppress others. The most famous example of the use of such antagonism for medical purposes is the use of penicillin produced by fungi as an antibiotic.

According to scientists, the bacterial pigment violacein, which gives microorganisms a purple color, has a high biological activity - now research is underway on its possible antitumor, antibacterial and insecticidal action. The first positive results have already been obtained. The ability of Janthinobacterium lividum bacteria to suppress moldy plant pathogens has not yet been studied, the study authors noted.