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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2006 Apr;56(1):25-33.

Importance of mycorrhization helper bacteria cell density and metabolite localization for the Pinus sylvestris-Lactarius rufus symbiosis.

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Warwick HRI, University of Warwick, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, UK.


Mycorrhization helper bacteria, Paenibacillus sp. EJP73 and Burkholderia sp. EJP67, were used to study the importance of bacterial inoculum dose and bacterial derived soluble and volatile metabolites localization for enhancing mycorrhiza formation in the Pinus sylvestris-Lactarius rufus symbiosis, using a laboratory based microcosm. EJP73 and EJP67 produced different responses in relation to the inoculum dose; EJP73 significantly enhanced mycorrhiza formation to the same degree at all doses tested (10(5), 10(7), 10(9) and 10(10) CFU mL(-1)), whereas, EJP67 only stimulated mycorrhiza formation within a narrow range of inoculum densities (10(7) and 10(9) CFU mL(-1)). The importance of soluble bacterial metabolites was assessed by applying spent broth derived from exponential and stationary phase bacterial cultures to microcosms. No spent broth enhanced mycorrhiza formation over the control. As EJP73 produced the helper effect over a wide range of inoculum doses, this bacterium was chosen for further study. Physical separation of EJP73 from the fungal and plant symbiosis partners was carried out, in order to determine the contribution of constitutively produced bacterial volatile metabolites to the mycorrhization helper bacteria effect. When EJP73 was physically separated from the symbiosis, it had a significant negative effect on mycorrhiza formation. These results suggest that close proximity, or indeed cell contact, is required for the helper effect. Therefore, fluorescent in situ hybridization in conjunction with cryosectioning was used to determine the localization of EJP73 in mycorrhizal tissue. The cells were found to occur as rows or clusters ( approximately 10 cells) within the mycorrhizal mantle, both at the root tip and along the length of the mycorrhizal short roots.

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