The purpose of this study was to evaluate fire ant venom alkaloids and an alarm pheromone analog against several plant pathogens, including Botrytis cinerea, Fusarium oxysporum, Phytophthora nicotianae, P. cryptogea, Pseudomonas syringae, Phytopythium citrinum, Rhizoctonia solani, Sclerotonia rolfsii, Xanthomonas axonopodis, and X. campestris. All pathogens were tested against red imported fire ant venom alkaloid extract and alarm pheromone compound for growth inhibition in in vitro assay. The venom alkaloid extract inhibited fungal and oomycete pathogens. Neither of the treatments were effective against bacterial pathogens. Three soilborne pathogens, P. nicotianae, R. solani, F. oxysporum, and one foliar pathogen, B. cinerea were selected for further in-vivo assays on impatiens (Impatiens walleriana ‘Super Elfin XP violet’). Total plant and root weight were higher in venom alkaloid treated plants compared to an inoculated control. The venom alkaloid treatment reduced damping-off, root rot severity, and pathogen recovery in soilborne pathogen inoculated plants. Similarly, venom alkaloid reduced Botrytis blight. However, higher venom rates caused foliar phytotoxicity on plants. Therefore, additional work is needed to evaluate rates of venom alkaloids or formulations to eliminate negative impacts on plants. Overall, these results suggest that red imported fire ant venom alkaloids may provide a basis for new products to control soilborne and foliar plant pathogens.
Dawadi, S.; Baysal-Gurel, F.; Addesso, K.M.; Liyanapathiranage, P.; Simmons, T. Fire Ant Venom Alkaloids: Possible Control Measure for Soilborne and Foliar Plant Pathogens. Pathogens 2021, 10, 659. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060659