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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Nov;78(21):7511-8. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00836-12. Epub 2012 Aug 3.

Sugarcane growth promotion by the endophytic bacterium Pantoea agglomerans 33.1.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz, University of São Paulo, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil. mquecine@usp.br


The promotion of sugarcane growth by the endophytic Pantoea agglomerans strain 33.1 was studied under gnotobiotic and greenhouse conditions. The green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged strain P. agglomerans 33.1::pNKGFP was monitored in vitro in sugarcane plants by microscopy, reisolation, and quantitative PCR (qPCR). Using qPCR and reisolation 4 and 15 days after inoculation, we observed that GFP-tagged strains reached similar density levels both in the rhizosphere and inside the roots and aerial plant tissues. Microscopic analysis was performed at 5, 10, and 18 days after inoculation. Under greenhouse conditions, P. agglomerans 33.1-inoculated sugarcane plants presented more dry mass 30 days after inoculation. Cross-colonization was confirmed by reisolation of the GFP-tagged strain. These data demonstrate that 33.1::pNKGFP is a superior colonizer of sugarcane due to its ability to colonize a number of different plant parts. The growth promotion observed in colonized plants may be related to the ability of P. agglomerans 33.1 to synthesize indoleacetic acid and solubilize phosphate. Additionally, this strain may trigger chitinase and cellulase production by plant roots, suggesting the induction of a plant defense system. However, levels of indigenous bacterial colonization did not vary between inoculated and noninoculated sugarcane plants under greenhouse conditions, suggesting that the presence of P. agglomerans 33.1 has no effect on these communities. In this study, different techniques were used to monitor 33.1::pNKGFP during sugarcane cross-colonization, and our results suggested that this plant growth promoter could be used with other crops. The interaction between sugarcane and P. agglomerans 33.1 has important benefits that promote the plant's growth and fitness.

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