Crown gall of grapevine, which is caused by tumorigenic Rhizobium vitis, is the most important bacterial disease of grapevine throughout the world. Screening tests of biological control agents resulted in the discovery of a nonpathogenic R. vitis strain ARK-1. By soaking grapevine roots with a cell suspension of strain ARK-1 prior to planting in the field, ARK-1 treatment significantly reduced the number of plants with crown gall symptoms. Several field trials result indicated that ARK-1 was very useful in the field, not only for grapevine but also for various other plant species. In experiments where a mixture of ARK-1 and a tumorigenic strain at a 1 : 1 cell ratio was examined in vitro and in planta, expression levels of the virulence genes virD2 and virE2 of the tumorigenic strain were significantly lower. The suppression of virulence genes, which can result in a reduction of gall formation and the pathogen population, seems to be a unique mechanism of ARK-1. These results indicated that ARK-1 is a promising new agent to control grapevine crown gall.
2017 The Japan Academy