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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 Jan;63(1):139-44.

Location and Survival of Mycorrhiza Helper Pseudomonas fluorescens during Establishment of Ectomycorrhizal Symbiosis between Laccaria bicolor and Douglas Fir.


The mycorrhiza helper bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens BBc6, isolated from a Laccaria bicolor sporocarp, consistently promotes L. bicolor-Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) ectomycorrhizal formation, even with low doses of bacterial inoculum. In order to describe this phenomenon more accurately, we have looked at the location and survival of the introduced bacterial strain in the soil and in the rhizosphere during the establishment of mycorrhizal symbiosis in glasshouse and nursery experiments. Bacterial populations were quantified with a spontaneous, stable, rifampin-resistant mutant, BBc6R8, which phenotypically conformed to the parental strain. BBc6R8 populations declined rapidly, reaching the detection limit after 19 weeks, and did not increase either when L. bicolor sporocarps were forming in autumn or when Douglas fir roots resumed growing in spring. BBc6R8 was neither an endophyte nor a rhizobacterium. Furthermore, it was not particularly associated with either mycorrhizas of Douglas fir-L. bicolor or L. bicolor sporocarps. Surprisingly, a significant mycorrhiza helper effect was observed when the inoculated BBc6R8 population had dropped as low as 30 CFU g of dry matter(sup-1) in the soil. This study raises questions concerning the bacterial concentration in the soil which is effective for promotion of mycorrhizal establishment and the timing of the bacterial effect. It allows us to develop working hypotheses, which can be tested experimentally, to identify the mechanisms of the mycorrhiza helper effect.

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