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Lett Appl Microbiol. 2010 Sep;51(3):325-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2010.02899.x. Epub 2010 Jul 8.

Monitoring the colonization of sugarcane and rice plants by the endophytic diazotrophic bacterium Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus marked with gfp and gusA reporter genes.

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Laboratory of Genetics and Biochemistry, Embrapa Agrobiologia, Serop├ędica, RJ, Brazil.



To evaluate the colonization process of sugarcane plantlets and hydroponically grown rice seedlings by Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus strain PAL5 marked with the gusA and gfp reporter genes.


Sugarcane plantlets inoculated in vitro with PAL5 carrying the gfp::gusA plasmid pHRGFPGUS did not present green fluorescence, but beta-glucuronidase (GUS)-stained bacteria could be observed inside sugarcane roots. To complement this existing inoculation methodology for micropropagated sugarcane with a more rapid colonization assay, we employed hydroponically grown gnotobiotic rice seedlings to study PAL5-plant interaction. PAL5 could be isolated from the root surface (10(8) CFU g(-1)) and from surface-disinfected root and stem tissues (10(4) CFU g(-1)) of inoculated plants, suggesting that PAL5 colonized the internal plant tissues. Light microscopy confirmed the presence of bacteria inside the root tissue. After inoculation of rice plantlets with PAL5 marked with the gfp plasmid pHRGFPTC, bright green fluorescent bacteria could be seen colonizing the rice root surface, mainly at the sites of lateral root emergence, at root caps and on root hairs.


The plasmids pHRGFPGUS and pHRGFPTC are valid tools to mark PAL5 and monitor the colonization of micropropagated sugarcane and hydroponic rice seedlings.


These tools are of use to: (i) study PAL5 mutants affected in bacteria-plant interactions, (ii) monitor plant colonization in real time and (iii) distinguish PAL5 from other bacteria during the study of mixed inoculants.

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