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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1992 Jun;58(6):1894-903.

Genetic and Phenotypic Diversity of Bacillus polymyxa in Soil and in the Wheat Rhizosphere.

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  • 1Equipe d'Ecologie Microbienne de la Rhizosphère, Centre de Pédologie Biologique, Unité Propre 6831 du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Associée à l'Université Nancy I, B. P. 5, F-54501 Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy Cedex, and Laboratoire de Microbiologie des Sols, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, BV 1540, 21034 Dijon Cedex, France.


Diversity among 130 strains of Bacillus polymyxa was studied; the bacteria were isolated by immunotrapping from nonrhizosphere soil (32 strains), rhizosphere soil (38 strains), and the rhizoplane (60 strains) of wheat plantlets growing in a growth chamber. The strains were characterized phenotypically by 63 auxanographic (API 50 CHB and API 20B strips) and morphological features, serologically by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and genetically by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) profiles of total DNA in combination with hybridization patterns obtained with an rRNA gene probe. Cluster analysis of phenotypic characters by the unweighted pair group method with averages indicated four groups at a similarity level of 93%. Clustering of B. polymyxa strains from the various fractions showed that the strains isolated from nonrhizosphere soil fell into two groups (I and II), while the third group (III) mainly comprised strains isolated from rhizosphere soil. The last group (IV) included strains isolated exclusively from the rhizoplane. Strains belonging to a particular group exhibited a similarity level of 96%. Serological properties revealed a higher variability among strains isolated from nonrhizosphere and rhizosphere soil than among rhizoplane strains. RFLP patterns also revealed a greater genetic diversity among strains isolated from nonrhizosphere and rhizosphere soil and therefore could not be clearly grouped. The RFLP patterns of sorbitol-positive strains isolated from the rhizoplane were identical. These results indicate that diversity within populations of B. polymyxa isolated from nonrhizosphere and rhizosphere soil is higher than that of B. polymyxa isolated from the rhizoplane. It therefore appears that wheat roots may select a specific subpopulation from the soil B. polymyxa population.

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