Bacillus subtilis material fact sheet

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Bacillus subtilis is a ubiquitous naturally occurring saprophytic bacterium that is commonly recovered from soil, water, air, and decomposing plant material. Under most conditions, however, it is not biologically active and is present in the spore form. Different strains of B. subtilis can be used as biological control agents under different situations. There are two general categories of B. subtilis strains; those that are applied to the foliage of a plant, and those applied to the soil or transplant mix when seeding.

The B. subtilis strain QST713 is a naturally occurring strain that was isolated in 1995 by AgraQuest Inc. from soil in a California peach orchard. This product is applied to foliage (NYDEC 2001). In contrast, B. subtilis strain GB03 (Kodiak®) was discovered in Australia in the 1930’s and is applied either as a seed treatment or directly to soil. Neither strain is considered a genetically modified organism.

Brian Caldwell
Emily Brown Rosen
Eric Sideman
Anthony M. Shelton
Christine D. Smart
Cornell Cooperative Extension Publication