In the context of biocontrol of plant diseases, the three families of Bacillus lipopeptides – surfactins, iturins and fengycins were at first mostly studied for their antagonistic activity for a wide range of potential phytopathogens, including bacteria, fungi and oomycetes. Recent investigations have shed light on the fact that these lipopeptides can also influence the ecological fitness of the producing strain in terms of root colonization (and thereby persistence in the rhizosphere) and also have a key role in the beneficial interaction of Bacillus species with plants by stimulating host defence mechanisms. The different structural traits and physico-chemical properties of these effective surface- and membrane-active amphiphilic biomolecules explain their involvement in most of the mechanisms developed by bacteria for the biocontrol of different plant pathogens.
ONGENA M. and JACQUES P. (2008). Trends Microbiol., 16, 115-125.