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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 May;68(5):2261-8.

Response of endophytic bacterial communities in potato plants to infection with Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica.

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  • 1ARC Seibersdorf research GmbH, Division of Environmental and Life Sciences, A-2444 Seibersdorf, Austria.


The term endophyte refers to interior colonization of plants by microorganisms that do not have pathogenic effects on their hosts, and various endophytes have been found to play important roles in plant vitality. In this study, cultivation-independent terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of 16S ribosomal DNA directly amplified from plant tissue DNA was used in combination with molecular characterization of isolates to examine the influence of plant stress, achieved by infection with the blackleg pathogen Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica, on the endophytic population in two different potato varieties. Community analysis clearly demonstrated increased bacterial diversity in infected plants compared to that in control plants. The results also indicated that the pathogen stress had a greater impact on the bacteria population than the plant genotype had. Partial sequencing of the 16S rRNA genes of isolated endophytes revealed a broad phylogenetic spectrum of bacteria, including members of the alpha, beta, and gamma subgroups of the Proteobacteria, high- and low-G+C-content gram-positive organisms, and microbes belonging to the Flexibacter-Cytophaga-Bacteroides group. Screening of the isolates for antagonistic activity against E. carotovora subsp. atroseptica revealed that 38% of the endophytes protected tissue culture plants from blackleg disease.

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