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Microb Ecol. 2005 Jan;49(1):104-13. Epub 2004 Sep 23.

The role of pigmentation, ultraviolet radiation tolerance, and leaf colonization strategies in the epiphytic survival of phyllosphere bacteria.

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Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA.


Phenotypic mechanisms that enhance bacterial UVR survival typically include pigmentation and DNA repair mechanisms which provide protection from UVA and UVB wavelengths, respectively. In this study, we examined the contribution of pigmentation to field survival in Clavibacter michiganensis and evaluated differences in population dynamics and leaf colonization strategies. Two C. michiganensis pigment-deficient mutants were significantly reduced in UVA radiation survival in vitro; one of these mutants also exhibited reduced field populations on peanut when compared to the wild-type strain over the course of replicate 25-day experiments. The UVR-tolerant C. michiganensis strains G7.1 and G11.1 maintained larger epiphytic field populations on peanut compared to the UVR-sensitive C. michiganensis T5.1. Epiphytic field populations of C. michiganensis utilized the strategy of solar UVR avoidance during leaf colonization resulting in increased strain survival on leaves after UVC irradiation. These results further demonstrate the importance of UVR tolerance in the ability of bacterial strains to maintain population size in the phyllosphere. However, an examination of several bacterial species from the peanut phyllosphere and a collection of environmental Pseudomonas spp. revealed that sensitivity to UVA and UVC radiation was correlated in some but not all of these bacteria. These results underscore a need to further understand the biological effects of different solar wavelength groups on microbial ecology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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