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Int J Food Microbiol. 2008 Jun 30;125(1):25-35. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2007.11.079. Epub 2007 Dec 5.

Recent advances in nitrogen-fixing acetic acid bacteria.

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Departamento de Ecología, Microbiología Agrícola. Facultad de Agronomía y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. Av. Roca 1900, (4000) Tucumán, Argentina.


Nitrogen is an essential plant nutrient, widely applied as N-fertilizer to improve yield of agriculturally important crops. An interesting alternative to avoid or reduce the use of N-fertilizers could be the exploitation of plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB), capable of enhancing growth and yield of many plant species, several of agronomic and ecological significance. PGPB belong to diverse genera, including Azospirillum, Azotobacter, Herbaspirillum, Bacillus, Burkholderia, Pseudomonas, Rhizobium, and Gluconacetobacter, among others. They are capable of promoting plant growth through different mechanisms including (in some cases), the biological nitrogen fixation (BNF), the enzymatic reduction of the atmospheric dinitrogen (N(2)) to ammonia, catalyzed by nitrogenase. Aerobic bacteria able to oxidize ethanol to acetic acid in neutral or acid media are candidates of belonging to the family Acetobacteraceae. At present, this family has been divided into ten genera: Acetobacter, Gluconacetobacter, Gluconobacter, Acidomonas, Asaia, Kozakia, Saccharibacter, Swaminathania, Neoasaia, and Granulibacter. Among them, only three genera include N(2)-fixing species: Gluconacetobacter, Swaminathania and Acetobacter. The first N(2)-fixing acetic acid bacterium (AAB) was described in Brazil. It was found inside tissues of the sugarcane plant, and first named as Acetobacter diazotrophicus, but then renamed as Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus. Later, two new species within the genus Gluconacetobacter, associated to coffee plants, were described in Mexico: G. johannae and G. azotocaptans. A salt-tolerant bacterium named Swaminathania salitolerans was found associated to wild rice plants. Recently, N(2)-fixing Acetobacter peroxydans and Acetobacter nitrogenifigens, associated with rice plants and Kombucha tea, respectively, were described in India. In this paper, recent advances involving nitrogen-fixing AAB are presented. Their natural habitats, physiological and genetic aspects, as well as their association with different plants and contribution through BNF are described as an overview.

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