Potential of yeasts as biocontrol agents of soil-borne fungal plant pathogens and as plant growth promoters

Khaled A. El-Tarabily, Krishnapillai Sivasithamparam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

147 Citations (Scopus)


Among soil microorganisms, yeasts have received little attention as biocontrol agents of soil-borne fungal plant pathogens in comparison to bacterial, actinomycetes, and filamentous fungal antagonists. The mechanisms of action of potential antagonism by yeasts in relation to soil-borne fungal plant pathogens are expected to be similar to those involved with pathogens of aerial parts of the plant, including leaves and fruits. Several taxa of yeasts have been recorded as endophytes in plants, with a small proportion recorded to promote plant growth. The ability of certain taxa of yeasts to multiply rapidly, to produce antibiotics and cell wall-degrading enzymes, to induce resistance of host tissues, and to produce plant growth regulators indicates the potential to exploit them as biocontrol agents and plant growth promoters. More than ten genera of yeasts have been used to control postharvest diseases, especially of fruits. Suppression of classes of fungal pathogens of fruits and foliage that are similar to those associated with soil-borne fungal root pathogens, strongly suggests that yeasts also have potential for the biological control of diseases caused by soil-borne fungal plant pathogens, as is evident in reports of certain yeasts in suppressing some soil-borne fungal plant pathogens. This review explores the potential of soil yeasts to suppress a wider range of soil-borne fungal plant pathogens and to promote plant growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


  • Antagonism
  • Biological control
  • Endophytes
  • Plant growth regulators
  • Rhizosphere competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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