Biological control of soft rot in potato by κ-carrageenan carriers encapsulated microbial predators

Gal Sason, Edouard Jurkevitch*, Amos Nussinovitch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Abstract: The Pectobacterium and Dickeya pectinolytic bacteria are phytopathogens responsible for several macerating diseases on a wide range of crops and ornamental plants. Recently, bacterial predators belonging to the Bdellovibrio and like organisms (BALOs) were shown to efficiently prey on these rot-causing bacteria and reduce soft rot-induced potato slice maceration. In the current research, our novel approach aimed at developing and studying a κ-carrageenan-based encapsulation system for fast-release of entrapped B. bacteriovorus HD100 in high numbers to prevent bacterial soft-rot infections. κ-carrageenan-dried carriers swelled and dissolved upon immersion in water due to a loss of potassium ions which are the main cross-linking agents. Survival rates of the predators after drying were higher for immobilized bdelloplasts (e.g., predator inside the host) compared to attack phase (host-searching, AP) cells, and with the addition of the osmoprotectant trehalose to the carriers. Released encapsulated predators preyed efficiently on soft rot bacteria, with bdelloplasts performing better as compared to AP cells. However, predation dynamics were influenced by the type of added osmoprotectant. Carrageenan-trehalose carriers encapsulating predators were able to reduce soft-rot disease in situ using a potato slice assay. To our knowledge, this research is the first to explore the potential of encapsulated BALOs against phytopathogens. Key points: • Dissolution of the carriers was affected by potassium concentration in the system. • Encapsulation of bdelloplasts with trehalose best maintained the predator viability. • The encapsulated predators efficiently controlled soft rot in vitro and in situ.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)81-96
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Bdellovibrio
  • Biocontrol
  • Encapsulation
  • Hydrocolloids
  • Pectobacterium
  • Predation


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