Rice blast is the main disease of rice plants in Indonesia and several countries worldwide. Controlling this disease using chemical fungicides has harmful effects on the environment. Therefore, we need biocontrol agents which are more environmentally friendly such as rice phyllosphere bacteria. This study aimed to explore bacteria producing bioactive compounds from the rice phyllosphere environment to control blast disease. A total of 88 isolates were successfully isolated from rice leaves in Sukabumi, Situgede, and Jasinga (West Java, Indonesia). From them, we obtained 22 bacteria isolates with antifungal activity against Pyricularia oryzae in vitro assay. In addition, seven non-pathogenic bacteria were obtained from further screening in hypersensitivity, hemolysis and pathogenicity assays, namely STGG 3, STGG 7, STGG 8, STGG 14, SKBV 1, STGV 8, and SKBG 78. To show their antifungal activity, we tested crude extracts of these seven isolates and the results revealed that all the crude extracts can inhibit the growth of P. oryzae. Based on a genetic approach, isolates STGG 3, STGG 7, and STGG 14 were found to have both nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS) and polyketide synthases (PKS) genes, while isolate SKBV 1 only had the NRPS gene. The NRPS and PKS genes from potential isolates were similar to NRPS and PKS genes of Bacillus sp. in different strains. Furthermore, molecular identification based on the 16S rRNA gene revealed that the seven potential isolates belong to three genera, i.e. Bacillus (STGG 3, STGG 7, STGG 8, STGG 14, SKBV 1), Enterobacter (STGV 8) and Brachybacterium (SKBG 78). We suggest that the seven isolates found in this study have potency and could be recommended as biocontrol agents of blast disease caused by P. oryzae.
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