Recently Dr. Gireesh Rajashekara's lab published their research entitled Discovery of Novel Small Molecule Growth Inhibitors to Manage Pseudomonas Leaf Spot Disease on Peppers (Capsicum sp.) highlighted within Plant Disease, the leading international journal for rapid reporting of research on new, emerging, and established plant diseases.
Sochina Ranjit, Loic Deblais, and Gireesh Rajashekara worked to identify promising alternative antimicrobials for managing Pseudomonas Leaf Spot (PLS) disease in pepper production. PLS disease in peppers, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae (Pss), is an emerging seed-borne phytopathogen. Pss infection can severely reduce the marketable yield of peppers in favorable environmental conditions and cause significant economic losses. The intensive use of copper-sulfate and streptomycin-sulfate to control PLS and other bacterial diseases is associated with antimicrobial-resistant-Pss strains, making these control methods less effective. Hence, there is an urgent need to develop novel antimicrobials effective against Pss in peppers. Several studies, including those done in Rajashekara laboratory, have shown that small molecule (SM) antimicrobials are ideal candidates as they can be effective against multi-drug resistant bacteria. Therefore, their study aimed to identify novel SM growth inhibitors of Pss, assess their safety, and evaluate their efficacy on Pss-infected pepper seeds and seedlings. Using high throughput screening they identified 10 SMs (PC1 to PC10) that inhibited the growth of Pss strains at 200 µM or lower concentrations. These SMs were effective against both copper- and streptomycin-resistant as well as biofilm-embedded Pss. These SMs were effective against other plant pathogens (n=22) at low concentrations (<200 µM) and had no impact on beneficial phytobacteria (n=12). Furthermore, these SMs showed better or equivalent antimicrobial activity against Pss in infested pepper seeds and inoculated seedlings, compared to copper-sulfate (200 µM) and streptomycin (200 µg/ml). Additionally, none of the SMs were toxic to pepper tissues (seeds, seedlings, or fruits), human Caco-2 cells, and pollinator honeybees at 200 µM. Overall, the SMs identified in this study are promising alternative antimicrobials for managing PLS in pepper production.