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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1999 Apr;65(4):1435-43.

Location and survival of leaf-associated bacteria in relation to pathogenicity and potential for growth within the leaf

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  • 1Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

Abstract

The growth and survival of pathogenic and nonpathogenic Pseudomonas syringae strains and of the nonpathogenic species Pantoea agglomerans, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, and Methylobacterium organophilum were compared in the phyllosphere of bean. In general, the plant pathogens survived better than the nonpathogens on leaves under environmental stress. The sizes of the total leaf-associated populations of the pathogenic P. syringae strains were greater than the sizes of the total leaf-associated populations of the nonpathogens under dry conditions but not under moist conditions. In these studies the surface sterilants hydrogen peroxide and UV irradiation were used to differentiate cells that were fully exposed on the surface from nonexposed cells that were in "protected sites" that were inaccessible to these agents. In general, the population sizes in protected sites increased with time after inoculation of plants. The proportion of bacteria on leaves that were in protected sites was generally greater for pathogens than for nonpathogens and was greater under dry conditions than under moist conditions. When organisms were vacuum infiltrated into leaves, the sizes of the nonexposed "internal" populations were greater for pathogenic P. syringae strains than for nonpathogenic P. syringae strains. The sizes of the populations of the nonpathogenic species failed to increase or even decreased. The sizes of nonexposed populations following spray inoculation were correlated with the sizes of nonexposed, internal populations which developed after vacuum infiltration and incubation. While the sizes of the populations of the pathogenic P. syringae strains increased on leaves under dry conditions, the sizes of the populations of the nonpathogenic strains of P. syringae, P. agglomerans, and S. maltophilia decreased when the organisms were applied to plants. The sizes of the populations on dry leaves were also correlated with the sizes of the nonexposed populations that developed following vacuum infiltration. Although pathogenicity was not required for growth in the phyllosphere under high-relative-humidity conditions, pathogenicity apparently was involved in the ability to access and/or multiply in certain protected sites in the phyllosphere and in growth on dry leaves.

PMID:
10103233
[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
PMCID:
PMC91203
Free PMC Article
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