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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2000 Jul 1;33(1):41-49.

Establishment of introduced antagonistic bacteria in the rhizosphere of transgenic potatoes and their effect on the bacterial community.

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Microbiology, Department of Biological Science, University of Rostock, Gertrudenstrasse 11a, D-18051 Rostock, Germany.


In a field release experiment, rifampicin resistant mutants of two antagonistic plant-associated bacteria were used for seed tuber inoculation of transgenic T4 lysozyme expressing potatoes, transgenic control potatoes and non-transgenic parental potatoes. The T4 lysozyme tolerant Pseudomonas putida QC14-3-8 was originally isolated from the tuber surface (geocaulosphere) of T4 lysozyme producing plants and showed in vitro antibacterial activity to the bacterial pathogen Erwinia carotovora ssp. atroseptica. The T4 lysozyme sensitive Serratia grimesii L16-3-3 was originally isolated from the rhizosphere of parental potatoes and showed in vitro antagonism toward the plant pathogenic fungus Verticillium dahliae. The establishment of the inoculated bacteria in the rhizosphere and geocaulosphere of the different plant lines was monitored over one growing season to assess the effect of T4 lysozyme produced by transgenic potato plants on the survival of both inoculants. Both introduced isolates were able to colonize the rhizo- and geocaulosphere of transgenic plants and non-transgenic parental plants, and established in the rhizosphere at levels of ca. log(10) 5 colony forming units g(-1) fresh weight of root. During flowering of plants, significantly more colony counts of the T4 lysozyme tolerant P. putida were recovered from transgenic T4 lysozyme plants than from the transgenic control and the parental line. At this time, the highest level of T4 lysozyme (% of total soluble protein) was detected. Effects of the inoculants on the indigenous microbial community were monitored by analysis of PCR-amplified fragments of the 16S rRNA genes of the whole bacterial community after separation by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). At any sampling time, the DGGE pattern of rhizosphere and geocaulosphere communities did not show differences between the inoculated and non-inoculated potatoes. Neither of the introduced strains became a dominant member of the bacterial community. This work was the first approach to assess the establishment of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria and potential biocontrol agents on transgenic plants.

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