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Assessment of Rhizobacteria as Selective Herbicides

P.W. Stahlman and P.A. Harris
1991 NCWSS Proceedings Vol. 46

Abstract. Downy brome, Japanese brome, and jointed goatgrass are problem weeds in winter wheat grown in Kansas and the western U.S. The predicament in controlling these problem weeds is partially due to ineffective chemical control. Native soil bacteria were isolated from soil and plant roots from several diverse sites with varied cropping histories and evaluated for selective inhibition of several of these problem weeds. Laboratory screenings of these bacteria have identified almost 200 isolates which inhibit root elongation of downy brome without significantly affecting winter wheat root growth. Over 200 isolates have been shown to inhibit root elongation of Japanese brome, whereas almost 130 isolates inhibit jointed goatgrass root growth. Several of these isolates retained their inhibitory capacities with downy brome grown in soil in pot studies. Currently, studies have been initiated to screen selected bacterial isolates under field conditions. A new biological control option may become a powerful alternative or addition to a traditional weed control program.