Plant health is very important as they serve as the major source of food for humans, keeping them healthy. The excessive usage of chemicals to control plant diseases pose threat to the humans, non-target organisms as well as environment. A novel alternative approach is the usage of biological agents, which are the beneficial microorganisms present in the soil that are harnessed to protect the plants from the plant pathogens and control the disease incidence in crops.
Native microbial isolates from soil & compost such as Pseudomonas fluorescens, well known for its plant growth promoting & antimicrobial activities, Bacillus subtilis having multiple functions that enhances crop yield and, Trichoderma viride, best known biocontrol agent have been successfully demonstrated to control the plant pathogens viz., R. solani (rice sheath blight pathogen), Magnaporthe grisea (ragi blast pathogen), Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici (tomato wilt pathogen) and Fusarium solani both under laboratory and field conditions.
Simple methods to culture these biocontrol agents have been developed and formulated as wettable powders & liquid foliar sprays, as ready-to-use products. The use of P. fluorescens and T. viride has been advocated to farmers to treat the seeds and as foliar spray during the crop growth phase to protect the plants from plant pathogens. This ecofriendly practice has been adopted and deployed by the farmers in their fields.