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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Aug;66(8):3556-65.

Effect of field inoculation with Sinorhizobium meliloti L33 on the composition of bacterial communities in rhizospheres of a target plant (Medicago sativa) and a non-target plant (Chenopodium album)-linking of 16S rRNA gene-based single-strand conformation polymorphism community profiles to the diversity of cultivated bacteria.

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Institut für Agrarökologie, Bundesforschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft (FAL), Braunschweig, Germany.


Fourteen weeks after field release of luciferase gene-tagged Sinorhizobium meliloti L33 in field plots seeded with Medicago sativa, we found that the inoculant also occurred in bulk soil from noninoculated control plots. In rhizospheres of M. sativa plants, S. meliloti L33 could be detected in noninoculated plots 12 weeks after inoculation, indicating that growth in the rhizosphere preceded spread into bulk soil. To determine whether inoculation affected bacterial diversity, 1,119 bacteria were isolated from the rhizospheres of M. sativa and Chenopodium album, which was the dominant weed in the field plots. Amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA) revealed plant-specific fragment size frequencies. Dominant ARDRA groups were identified by 16S rRNA gene nucleotide sequencing. Database comparisons indicated that the rhizospheres contained members of the Proteobacteria (alpha, beta, and gamma subgroups), members of the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium group, and gram-positive bacteria with high G+C DNA contents. The levels of many groups were affected by the plant species and, in the case of M. sativa, by inoculation. The most abundant isolates were related to Variovorax sp., Arthrobacter ramosus, and Acinetobacter calcoaceticus. In the rhizosphere of M. sativa, inoculation reduced the numbers of cells of A. calcoaceticus and members of the genus Pseudomonas and increased the number of rhizobia. Cultivation-independent PCR-single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) profiles of a 16S rRNA gene region confirmed the existence of plant-specific rhizosphere communities and the effect of the inoculant. All dominant ARDRA groups except Variovorax species could be detected. On the other hand, the SSCP profiles revealed products which could not be assigned to the dominant cultured isolates, indicating that the bacterial diversity was greater than the diversity suggested by cultivation.

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