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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1994 Jul;60(7):2232-7.

Inoculum Density-Dependent Mortality and Colonization of the Phyllosphere by Pseudomonas syringae.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management, Division of Entomology, Plant and Soil Microbiology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720.

Abstract

Pseudomonas syringae inocula containing cell concentrations ranging from 10 to 10 cells per ml were applied to the primary leaves of bean plants. The plants were incubated under conditions of high temperature and illumination and low relative humidity. Bacterial mortality rates and the proportional population decline of the inoculum were lowest at the highest inoculum concentrations. Addition of a high concentration of heat-killed cells to the inoculum containing a low concentration of viable cells significantly reduced both the mortality rate and the proportional population decline of the viable cells. The mechanisms underlying this density-dependent mortality may include cooperative protective effects of extracellular factors, such as bacterial extracellular polysaccharides, and physical protection by neighboring cells. Although epiphytic populations derived from inoculum concentrations of 10 or 10 cells per ml tended toward 10 CFU/g, the presumed carrying capacity of the leaf, populations derived from lower inoculum concentrations never achieved this carrying capacity. Assuming that epiphytic populations of P. syringae reside in discrete protected sites, our results suggest that at low inoculum concentrations, following a period of environmental stress, the number of viable cells may have dropped to zero in some sites; hence, the carrying capacity of the leaf could not be achieved.

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