Bacterial endophytes: recent developments and applications


  • Editor: Richard Staples

Correspondence: David N. Dowling, Department Science & Health, Institute of Technology Carlow, Kilkenny Road, Carlow, Ireland. Tel.: +353 59 9170479; fax: +353 59 9170517; e-mail:


Endophytic bacteria have been found in virtually every plant studied, where they colonize the internal tissues of their host plant and can form a range of different relationships including symbiotic, mutualistic, commensalistic and trophobiotic. Most endophytes appear to originate from the rhizosphere or phyllosphere; however, some may be transmitted through the seed. Endophytic bacteria can promote plant growth and yield and can act as biocontrol agents. Endophytes can also be beneficial to their host by producing a range of natural products that could be harnessed for potential use in medicine, agriculture or industry. In addition, it has been shown that they have the potential to remove soil contaminants by enhancing phytoremediation and may play a role in soil fertility through phosphate solubilization and nitrogen fixation. There is increasing interest in developing the potential biotechnological applications of endophytes for improving phytoremediation and the sustainable production of nonfood crops for biomass and biofuel production.