This study aims to develop a biocontrol agent against Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. radicis-lycopersici (FORL) in tomato. For this, a set of 23 bacterial endophytic isolates has been screened for their ability to inhibit in vitro the growth of FORL using the dual plate assay. Three isolates with the most sound antagonistic activity to FORL have been qualitatively screened for siderophore production, phosphates solubilization and indolic acetic acid (IAA) synthesis as growth promotion traits. Antagonistic values of the three candidates against FORL were respectively: 51.51 % (EB4B), 51.18 % (EB22K) and 41.40 % (EB2A). Based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, the isolates EB4B and EB22K were closely related to Enterobacter ludwigii EN-119, while the strain EB2A has been assigned to Leclercia adecarboxylata NBRC 102595. The promotion of tomato growth has been assessed in vitro using the strains EB2A, EB4B and EB22K in presence of the phytopathogen FORL. The treatments with the selected isolates increased significantly the root length and dry weight. Best results were observed in isolate EB4B in terms of growth promotion in the absence of FORL, improving 326.60 % of the root length and 142.70 % of plant dry weight if compared with untreated controls. In the presence of FORL, the strain EB4B improved both root length (180.81 %) and plant dry weight (202.15 %). These results encourage further characterization of the observed beneficial effect of Enterobacter sp. EB4B for a possible use as biofertilizer and biocontrol agent against FORL.
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