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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 Aug;62(8):2978-87.

Influence of immigration on epiphytic bacterial populations on navel orange leaves.


Factors that influenced the increase in epiphytic bacterial population size on navel orange leaves during winter months were investigated to test the assumption that such populations were the result of multiplication on orange leaves. The population sizes of bacteria of different kinds, including ice nucleation-active (Ice(sup+)) bacteria, were from 6- to 30-fold larger on leaves of navel orange trees adjacent to other plant species than on trees growing near other citrus species. Total and Ice(sup+) bacterial population sizes on other plant species growing near navel orange trees were from 18- to 60-fold and 2- to 18,000-fold larger, respectively, than on navel orange trees. About twice the number of bacterial cells of a given type were deposited onto petri dishes opened simultaneously in navel orange orchards with other plant species nearby as in orchards surrounded by citrus trees. Epiphytic bacteria and airborne bacteria were more numerous near the upwind edge of orchards bordering on other plant species, but not in orchards adjacent to other citrus trees, and decreased with distance from other plant species. Navel orange leaves also exhibited progressive increases in the ability to supercool as a function of increasing distance from the upwind edge of orchards adjacent to other plant species but not in orchards adjacent to other citrus trees. While the population size of three different bacterial strains remained nearly constant for 60 days after inoculation, total bacterial populations increased more than 50-fold during this period. These results suggest that immigration of bacteria from plants having high epiphytic bacterial populations could account for most, if not all, of the seasonal increase in bacterial populations on navel orange leaves and have important implications for procedures to modify bacterial communities on leaves.


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