Pedosphere 32(1): 15--38, 2022
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2022 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Hydrogen cyanide production by soil bacteria: Biological control of pests and promotion of plant growth in sustainable agriculture
Anju SEHRAWAT1, Satyavir S. SINDHU1, Bernard R. GLICK2
1Department of Microbiology, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar 125004(India)
2Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo ON N2 L3 G1(Canada)
      Currently, plant diseases and insect infestations are mainly controlled by the extraneous application of pesticides. Unfortunately, the indiscriminate use of such agrochemicals can cause ecological and environmental problems, as well as human health hazards. To obviate the potential pollution arising from the application of agrochemicals, biological control of soilborne pathogens or insect pests using antagonistic microorganisms may be employed. Certain soil bacteria, algae, fungi, plants and insects possess the unique ability to produce hydrogen cyanide (HCN), which plays an important role in the biotic interactions of those organisms. In particular, cyanogenic bacteria have been found to inhibit the growth of various pathogenic fungi, weeds, insects, termites and nematodes. Thus, the use of HCN-producing bacteria as biopesticides offers an ecofriendly approach for sustainable agriculture. The enzyme, HCN synthase, involved in the synthesis of HCN, is encoded by the hcnABC gene cluster. The biosynthetic regulation of HCN, antibiotics and fluorescent insecticidal toxins through the conserved global regulatory GacS/GacA system is elaborated in this review, including approaches that may optimize cyanogenesis for enhanced pest control. In addition, the effects of bacterially synthesized HCN on the production of indole acetic acid, antibiotics and fluorescent insecticidal toxins, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase utilization and phosphate solubilization may result in the stimulation of plant growth. A more detailed understanding of HCN biosynthesis and regulation may help to elaborate the precise role of this compound in biotic interactions and sustainable agriculture.
Key Words:  biocontrol agent,biopesticide,cyanogenesis,fluorescent insecticidal toxin,pathogen
Citation: Sehrawat A, Sindhu S, Glick B R. 2022. Hydrogen cyanide production by soil bacteria: Biological control of pests and promotion of plant growth in sustainable agriculture. Pedosphere. 32(1): 15–38.
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