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Keywords:

  • endophytic bacteria;
  • Methylobacterium;
  • potato plantlets;
  • unculturable

Abstract

Aims:  To induce growth of endophytic bacteria residing in an unculturable state in tissues of in vitro-grown potato plantlets. To isolate and identify the induced bacteria and to localize the strains in tissues of in vitro-grown potato plantlets.

Methods and Results:  The inoculation of in vitro-grown potato plants with Pseudomonas fluorescens IMBG163 led to induction of another bacterium, a pink-pigmented facultative methylotroph that was identified as Methylobacterium sp. using phylogenetic 16S rDNA approach. Two molecular methods were used for localizing methylobacteria in potato plantlets: PCR and in situ hybridization (ISH/FISH). A PCR product specific for the Methylobacterium genus was found in DNA isolated from the surface-sterilized plantlet leaves. Presence of Methylobacterium rRNA was detected by ISH/FISH in leaves and stems of inoculated as well as axenic potato plantlets although the bacterium cannot be isolated from the axenic plants.

Conclusion: Methylobacterium sp. resides in unculturable state within tissues of in vitro-grown potato plants and becomes culturable after inoculation with P. fluorescens IMBG163.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  In order to develop endophytic biofertilizers and biocontrol agents, a detailed knowledge of the life-style of endophytes is essential. To our knowledge, this is the first report on increase of the culturability of endophytes in response to inoculation by nonpathogenic bacteria.