The dramatic advances of the past 10 years in the medical use of antibiotics have overshadowed the potential role of those substances in other fields. The use of antibiotics with antifungal properties for the control of plant diseases is of particular interest at a time when conservation of food supply is a matter of world-wide importance. Two recent reports are of considerable theoretical interest in that they suggest means by which the value of antibiotics in agriculture and horticulture can be further explored.
Henry1 and his associates recently reported on the control of seed-borne fungus disease in cereals with acidione, an antibiotic produced by Streptomyces griseus. Wheat, barley, and oat seeds infested with covered smut were treated with acidione in a concentration of 10 parts per million in water. Treatment resulted in a reduced incidence of disease in all cases. Best results were obtained with oat smut, a major