Biological control is a potential nonchemical method to manage plant pathogens by beneficial microorganisms. To improve antagonistic potential of biocontrol agents, mutation by radiations, chemicals, and genetic manipulations has been used. Genetic techniques and ionizing radiation containing direct or indirect emissions play the greatest role for selection of useful microorganisms to enhance the efficiency of biological systems. Indeed, genetic engineering has a main role in increasing antimicrobial metabolites, host colonization ability, and endurance in micro-ecosystem. Genetic improvement can be achieved by protoplast fusion, genetic modification (GM), and chemical (genotoxic agents) and physical mutations. However, ultraviolet light and ionizing radiations can induce modifications in the genome of an organism. Irradiation, particularly gamma rays, is also applied for controlling postharvest diseases. Indeed, irradiation cannot completely eliminate pathogens, but it might result in cell injury and directly damage the chromosomal DNA of a living cell. This technology has been used for many reasons including disinfestation of foods, reducing foodborne pathogens, and extending shelf life many fruits, vegetables, and nuts. In the current review, we discuss advances in the radiation and molecular genetic techniques with the aim to improve antagonistic potential of microorganisms as it is applied to the suppression of plant pathogens.
Part of the book: Use of Gamma Radiation Techniques in Peaceful Applications