Although bacteria from the genus Collimonas have demonstrated in vitro antifungal activity against many different fungi, they appeared inactive against the plant-pathogenic fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. radicis-lycopersici (Forl), the causal agent of tomato foot and root rot (TFRR). Visualization studies using fluorescently labelled organisms showed that bacterial cells attached extensively to the fungal hyphae under nutrient-poor conditions but not in glucose-rich Armstrong medium. Collimonas fungivorans was shown to be as efficient in colonizing tomato root tips as the excellent colonizer Pseudomonas fluorescens strain WCS365. Furthermore, it appeared to colonize the same sites on the root as did the phytopathogenic fungus. Under greenhouse conditions in potting soil, C. fungivorans performed as well in biocontrol of TFRR as the well-established biocontrol strains P. fluorescens WCS365 and Pseudomonas chlororaphis PCL1391. Moreover, under biocontrol conditions, C. fungivorans did not attach to Forl hyphae colonizing plant roots. Based on these observations, we hypothesize that C. fungivorans mainly controls TFRR through a mechanism of competition for nutrients and niches rather than through its reported mycophagous properties, for which attachment of the bacteria to the fungal hyphae is assumed to be important.
Kamilova, F., Leveau, J. H. J., & Lugtenberg, B. (2007). Collimonas fungivorans, an unpredicted in vitro but efficient in vivo biocontrol agent for the suppression of tomato foot and root rot. Environmental Microbiology, 9(6), 1597-1603. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1462-2920.2007.01263.x