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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2002 Mar 1;39(3):219-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2002.tb00924.x.

Characterisation of bacteria from Pinus sylvestris-Suillus luteus mycorrhizas and their effects on root-fungus interactions and plant growth.

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Department of Soil and Environment Sciences, Horticulture Research International, Wellesbourne, Warwick CV35 9EF, UK.


Bacteria from Pinus sylvestris-Suillus luteus mycorrhizas were isolated, characterised, and their effects on P. sylvestris-S. luteus interactions and plant growth investigated in vitro. The isolates formed five distinct phenotypic and physiological groups. Two of the groups, accounting for 34 of the 55 isolates, consisted of Bacillus spp., with three subgroups represented. The other groups contained Burkholderia spp., Serratia spp. and Pseudomonas spp. Representatives from each bacterial group were used in microcosm experiments to investigate bacterial effects on P. sylvestris-S. luteus interactions. Most Bacillus isolates stimulated growth of S. luteus along the P. sylvestris root, while isolates of Pseudomonas and Serratia inhibited root colonisation by the fungus. Burkholderia and Serratia isolates inhibited ectomycorrhiza formation by 97 and 41% respectively, while a single Bacillus isolate doubled the formation of first order ectomycorrhizal roots. There were no clear relationships between effects of the bacteria on root colonisation by the fungus after 4 weeks, and chitinase production or subsequent ectomycorrhiza formation. However, isolates that inhibited ectomycorrhiza formation appeared to associate preferentially with ectomycorrhizal roots. Several isolates enhanced plant growth substantially, although these effects were unrelated to either root colonisation by the fungus or ectomycorrhiza formation.

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