Letter | Published:

A Potent, Non-Toxic Plant-growth Inhibitor from an Antibiotic Fermentation

Naturevolume 192pages10981099 (1961) | Download Citation



THE production by micro-organisms of substances inhibitory to the growth of higher plants is well documented. The purpose of this communication is to report a potent inhibitor of plant growth, as measured by our duckweed (Lemna) test1. Solvent extraction at pH. 9.0 of fitrates derived from fermentations of an unidentified Streptomyces led to the recovery of a light tan solid, designated crude PA-180. This preparation exhibited considerable antibiotic activity against various micro-organisms (for example, minimum inhibitory concentrations of 3.12 and 6.25 µgm./ml. against Streptococcus faecalis and Corynebacterium diphtheriae, respectively; we wish to thank Dr. A. R. English for the anti-microbial testing and Dr. T. M. Lees and Mr. M. Lynch for papergram determinations). This crude PA-180 preparation also was shown to exhibit remarkable plant growth activity. This inhibitory effect was first noticed in a routine test being conducted for an evaluation of its growth effect and its phytotoxicity. The results (Fig. 1) were noteworthy since they demonstrated a strong inhibitory action with no apparent toxic symptoms. The plants at all test-levels were normal except for a decreased size. The original experimental transfer consisted of one rosette of four fronds. These four original fronds are easily detected among the tiny daughter fronds at the 5, 10 and 20 p.p.m. test-levels. The number of fronds is not appreciably decreased, as opposed to the size and weight of the plants.

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    • L. G. NICKELL

    Present address: Experiment Station, Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association, Honolulu, 14


  1. Medical Research Laboratories, Chas. Pfizer and Co., Inc., Groton, Connecticut

    • L. G. NICKELL
    •  & W. D. CELMER


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