Microencapsulation and controlled release of the biocontrol agent Pantoea agglomerans strain E325 (E325), an antagonist to the bacterial plant pathogen Erwinia amylovora that causes fire blight, a devastating disease of apple and pear, have been investigated. Uniform core-shell alginate microcapsules (AMCs), 60-300 μm in diameter, were fabricated to encapsulate E325 within the core, along with nutrients, to preserve viability and promote proliferation. Controlled release of E325 was achieved by separately adjusting alginate concentrations in the shell and core solutions, and by modifying the AMC size. Viability of E325 was monitored via fluorescent staining, revealing either lack of or minimal stress during or after encapsulation. Proliferation of E325 within AMCs, followed by their subsequent release, and colonization activities within confines of apple flowers were studied under different encapsulation conditions using rfp-labeled E325 to obtain highly promising results. This study provided a 'proof of concept' of the successful use of a microencapsulated biocontrol agent, E325, against E. amylovora, and could serve as a model for further studies on the development of effective plant disease management strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-115
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 10 2012


  • Biocontrol
  • Cell release
  • Erwinia amylovora
  • Fire blight
  • Microencapsulation
  • Pantoea agglomerans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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