Serbian microbiologists discover bacteria species that could be used to replace pesticides

Agroberichten, the newsletter of the network of Dutch agricultural counsellors worldwide, reports that in the village of Pastric, near Mionica in central Serbia, microbiologists found two hitherto unknown species of beneficial bacteria that, if the research confirms it, could be used for the production of biopesticides.

The species called Pseudomonas serbica and Pseudomonas serboccidentalis can protect plants from pathogens by various mechanisms, according to these scientists, daily writes Vecernje Novosti.

An international team of scientists discovered the bacteria. The project is a collaboration between the Department of Environmental Microbiology of the Faculty of Agriculture in Belgrade, the Claude Bernard University in Lyon, France, and the Czech Academy of Sciences.

“Analyses have shown that these two new bacteria can convert phosphorus, found in the soil in a form that is difficult for plants to access, into one that agricultural crops can use,” says Irena Todorovic, who is working on this research as part of her PhD dissertation.

She adds, “Also, the two new bacteria can help plants better absorb iron from the soil. In addition, Pseudomonas serboccidentalis can produce hydrogen cyanide, which helps prevent the growth of pathogens.”

Further research is required to determine which properties of the newly discovered bacteria positively affect the suppression of pathogens and the growth of plants. “If it turns out that these bacteria have great potential, they could be used for the production of biopesticides, which protect crops from diseases in a biologically acceptable way,” says Todorovic.

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