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Appl Environ Microbiol. Nov 1993; 59(11): 3648–3653.
PMCID: PMC182511

Anaerobic Nitrate Respiration by Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica during Potato Tuber Invasion


The in planta induction of anaerobic nitrate respiration by Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica in relation to the in situ oxygen status in soft rotting potato tubers has been investigated. In vitro experiments have shown that nitrate was required for the induction of respiratory nitrate reductase activity in E. carotovora. In addition, oxygen was found to repress this activity. Expression of respiratory nitrate reductase was found in E. carotovora cells extracted from soft rotting potato tuber tissue. However, the rate of nitrite production in these cells was approximately 70-fold lower than the rate recorded in fully induced anaerobic cultures. Oxygen measurements in soft rotting potato tubers indicated that the invading bacteria encounter the lowest oxygen concentration at the interphase between healthy and macerated tissue. Consequently, growth of bacteria present in this specific zone will be stimulated by nitrate which is present in sufficient amounts in tuber tissue. A high nitrate content of the tuber will most likely facilitate the proliferation of E. carotovora in the tuber tissue.

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Selected References

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