Despite sharing many of the traits that have allowed the genus Bacillus to gain recognition for its agricultural relevance, the genus Lysinibacillus is not as well-known and studied. The present study employs in vitro, in vivo, in planta, and in silico approaches to characterize Lysinibacillus fusiformis strain S4C11, isolated from the roots of an apple tree in northern Italy. The in vitro and in vivo assays demonstrated that strain S4C11 possesses an antifungal activity against different fungal pathogens, and is capable of interfering with the germination of Botrytis cinerea conidia, as well as of inhibiting its growth through the production of volatile organic molecules. In planta assays showed that the strain possesses the ability to promote plant growth, that is not host-specific, both in controlled conditions and in a commercial nursery. Biocontrol assays carried out against phytopathogenic viruses gave contrasting results, suggesting that the strain does not activate the host's defense pathways. The in silico analyses were carried out by sequencing the genome of the strain through an innovative approach that combines Illumina and High-Definition Mapping methods, allowing the reconstruction of a main chromosome and two plasmids from strain S4C11. The analysis of the genes encoded by the genome contributed to the characterization of the strain, detecting genes related to the biocontrol effect detected in the experimental trials.
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