Reduced pathogen resistance and management of the left-over rice stubble are among the most important challenges faced in rice cultivation. A novel and eco-friendly strategy to synthesise 'Fungal Chitosan' (FC) from Aspergillus niger using rice straw could serve as a sustainable treatment approach to improve both disease resistance and yields, while also effectively managing the rice stubble waste. The FC treatment promoted germination as well as growth parameters in rice varieties, TN1 (high yielding-susceptible) and PTB33 (low yielding-resistant) better than a commercial chitosan (PC). Treatments of exogenously applied FC to plants produced direct toxicity to Xoo, and reduced the BLB disease index by 39.9% in TN1. The capability of FC to trigger a cascade of defense pathways was evident from the measurable changes in the kinetics of defense enzymes, peroxidase (POD) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO). FC treatment increased levels of POD in TN1 by 59.4%, which was 35.3% greater than that of untreated PTB33. Therefore, the study demonstrated the effectiveness of FC treatments for use in agriculture as a potential biostimulant as well as protective agent against bacterial leaf blight, BLB, of rice (Oryza sativa) that could be produced from stubble waste and improve rice stubble management strategies.
© 2021. The Author(s).