Brooke Warres was recently awarded an Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities (URCA) grant in the amount of $700. Brooke is a senior biology major, in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science degree. She has been a member of the BioInnovaion lab since August, 2017, and has been working to isolate and develop plant-groth promoting rhizobacteria (BGPR).

Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria are bacteria that form a symbiotic relationship with plant roots and through their interaction in the rhizosphere, increase plant growth and systemic health (Kloepper and Schroth 1980). These microorganisms can also protect the plant from fungal pathogens through the synthesis of allelochemicals, which may be isolated, characterized, and used as human therapeutics (Compant et al. 2005). The research is focused on discovering local strains of rhizobacteria that can act as PGPR with agriculturally important crop varieties. Soil samples will be taken from various locations in Kennesaw, GA and will be inoculated on a specialized medium, soil extract agar, to promote soil-adapted organisms and surrpress undesired growth. Once isolates have been found, they will be inoculated into sterilized soil in which tomatoes will be grown from seeds. The isolates will also be tested in vitro for antifungal activity against Botrytis cinerea a common fungal pathogen of several crop varieties. If isolates of specific strains of PGPR native to our area can be identified, this could directly help local farmers, such as the Hickory Grove Farm, grow crops faster and use less fertilizers and pesticides.


Compant, S, Duffy B, Nowak J, Clément C, Barka EA. 2005. Use of Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria for Biocontrol of Plant Diseases: Principles, Mechanisms of Action, and Future Prospects. Appl Environ Microbiol 71(9):4951-9.

Kloepper, JW, Schroth MN, Miller TD. 1980. Effects of Rhizosphere Colonization by Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria on Potato Plant Development and Yield. Phytopathology 1078-1082.