Methods for isolating and characterizing ACC deaminase-containing plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria


  • Edited by M. Griffith

* Corresponding author, e-mail:


One of the major mechanisms utilized by plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) to facilitate plant growth and development is the lowering of ethylene levels by deamination of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) the immediate precursor of ethylene in plants. The enzyme catalysing this reaction, ACC deaminase, hydrolyses ACC to α-ketobutyrate and ammonia. Several bacterial strains that can utilize ACC as a sole source of nitrogen have been isolated from rhizosphere soil samples. All of these strains are considered to be PGPR based on the ability to promote canola seedling root elongation under gnotobiotic conditions. The treatment of plant seeds or roots with these bacteria reduces the amount of ACC in plants, thereby lowering the concentration of ethylene. Here, a rapid procedure for the isolation of ACC deaminase-containing bacteria, a root elongation assay for evaluating the effects of selected bacteria on root growth, and a method of assessing bacterial ACC deaminase activity are described in detail. This should allow researchers to readily isolate new PGPR strains adapted to specific environments.