Diversity of root-associated bacteria associated with field-grown canola (Brassica napus L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)


*Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 (306) 966-6836; Fax: +1 (306) 966-6881; germida@sask.usask.ca


Little is known about the composition and diversity of the bacterial community associated with plant roots. The purpose of this study was to investigate the diversity of bacteria associated with the roots of canola plants grown at three field locations in Saskatchewan, Canada. Over 300 rhizoplane and 220 endophytic bacteria were randomly selected from agar-solidified trypticase soy broth, and identified using fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) profiles. Based on FAME profiles, 18 bacterial genera were identified with a similarity index >0.3, but 73% of the identified isolates belonged to four genera: Bacillus (29%), Flavobacterium (12%), Micrococcus (20%) and Rathayibacter (12%). The endophytic community had a lower Shannon-Weaver diversity index (1.35) compared to the rhizoplane (2.15), and a higher proportion of Bacillus, Flavobacterium, Micrococcus and Rathayibacter genera compared to rhizoplane populations. Genera identified in the endophytic isolates were also found in the rhizoplane isolates. Furthermore, principal component analysis indicated three clusters of bacteria regardless of their site of origin, i.e., rhizoplane or endophytic. In addition, the rhizoplane communities of canola and wheat grown at the same site differed significantly. These results indicate that diverse groups of bacteria are associated with field-grown plants and that endophytes are a subset of the rhizoplane community.