Photosynthetic bacteria (PSB) have been extensively used in agriculture to promote plant growth and to improve crop quality. Their potential application in plant disease management, however, is largely overlooked. In this study, the PSB strain Rhodopseudomonas palustris GJ-22 was investigated for its ability to induce resistance against a plant virus while promoting plant growth. In the field, a foliar spray of GJ-22 suspension protected tobacco plants against tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). Under axenic conditions, GJ-22 colonized the plant phyllosphere and induced resistance against TMV. Additionally, GJ-22 produced two phytohormones, indole-3-acetic acid and 5-aminolevulinic acid, which promote growth and germination in tobacco. Furthermore, GJ-22-inoculated plants elevated their immune response under subsequent TMV infection. This research may give rise to a novel biological agent with a dual function in disease management while promoting plant growth.

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Published in Microbial Biotechnology, v. 10, issue 3, p. 612-624.

© 2017 The Authors. Microbial Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Applied Microbiology.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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This research was supported by the Special Fund for the Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201303028), the National Science Foundation of China (31272067), the Twelfth Five-year National Support Project of Science and Technology (2014vBAD05B04-4), Joint Research Fund for Young Scholars in Hunan Province and Hunan Academy of Agricultural Sciences (14JJ6059) and the Agricultural Research System of China (CARS-25-B-05).