• bacterial endophytes;
  • community composition;
  • rice leaf;
  • T-RFLP


The endophytic bacterial communities of the three most important rice varieties cultivated in Uruguay were compared by a multiphasic approach. Leaves of mature plants grown in field experiments for two consecutive crop seasons were studied. No significant differences were found in the heterotrophic bacterial density for the three varieties. Pantoea ananatis and Pseudomonas syringae constituted 51% of the total of the isolates. These species were always present regardless of the variety or the season. Molecular analysis based on the 16S rRNA gene was performed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and cloning. T-RFLP analysis revealed that bacterial communities grouped according to the variety, although the three varieties presented communities that showed 74% or higher similarities. Brevundimonas, the dominant genus in the clone library (18% of the clones), which might be present in all varieties according to T-RFLP profiles, was not recovered by cultivation. Conversely, bacteria from the genus Pseudomonas were not detected in the clone library. These results indicate that communities established in leaves of physiologically different rice varieties were highly similar and composed by a reduced group of strongly associated and persistent bacteria that were partially recovered by cultivation.