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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Safety assessment of biocontrol and plant growth-promoting pseudomonads useful in crop production

Sundh, Ingvar; Hökeberg, Margareta; Levenfors, Jolanta J.; Nilsson, Annika


One biocontrol and two plant growth-promoting Pseudomonas spp. isolates were subjected to a safety assessment. Potential risks for human and plant health were investigated and screenings for toxic effects were performed. The antibiotic susceptibility pattern was typical for Pseudomonas and only one of the isolates grew at 37 degrees C. None of the isolates elicited a hypersensitivity reaction in the tobacco test for plant pathogenicity. For toxicity testing, BACTOX, the Lemna growth bioassay, primary root and shoot growth in vitro and a seed germination/early seedling growth assay were performed. In these assays, one of the plant growth-promoting isolates consistently displayed concentration-dependent adverse effects not seen with the other isolates. Further investigation is needed to determine whether these adverse effects are a concern from a safety assessment perspective, as the identity and mode of action of the active metabolite(s) are unknown. Lack of standardised test procedures for complex samples of microbial origin hampered interpretation of the results from the toxicity assays and there is a need to develop methodology that is more suitable for testing such samples. Nevertheless, the tests employed for the three Pseudomonas isolates were successful in distinguishing isolates with different characteristics. This test framework provides an outline for information collection and safety evaluation when handling new microbial isolates that could be an efficient tool in selecting the best candidate isolates for product development.


Antibiotic susceptibility; biological control; Lemna minor; pathogenicity; PGPR; Pseudomonas; risk assessment; seed germination; Tetrahymena pyriformis; toxicity

Published in

Annals of Applied Biology
2011, Volume: 159, number: 2, pages: 291-301

    SLU Authors

      • Hökeberg, Margareta

        • MASE Laboratories AB
        • UKÄ Subject classification

          Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
          Agricultural Science

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