Endophytic Colonization and in Planta Nitrogen Fixation by a Herbaspirillum sp. Isolated from Wild Rice Species

Adel Elbeltagy, Kiyo Nishioka, Tadashi Sato, Hisa Suzuki, Bin Ye, Toru Hamada, Tsuyoshi Isawa, Hisayuki Mitsui, Kiwamu Minamisawa

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360 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrogen-fixing bacteria were isolated from the stems of wild and cultivated rice on a modified Rennie medium. Based on 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences, the diazotrophic isolates were phylogenetically close to four genera: Herbaspirillum, Ideonella, Enterobacter, and Azospirillum. Phenotypic properties and signature sequences of 16S rDNA indicated that three isolates (B65, B501, and B512) belong to the Herbaspirillum genus. To examine whether Herbaspirillum sp. strain B501 isolated from wild rice, Oryza officinalis, endophytically colonizes rice plants, the gfp gene encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) was introduced into the bacteria. Observations by fluorescence stereomicroscopy showed that the GFP-tagged bacteria colonized shoots and seeds of aseptically grown seedlings of the original wild rice after inoculation of the seeds. Conversely, for cultivated rice Oryza sativa, no GFP fluorescence was observed for shoots and only weak signals were observed for seeds. Observations by fluorescence and electron microscopy revealed that Herbaspirillum sp. strain B501 colonized mainly intercellular spaces in the leaves of wild rice. Colony counts of surface-sterilized rice seedlings inoculated with the GFP-tagged bacteria indicated significantly more bacterial populations inside the original wild rice than in cultivated rice varieties. Moreover, after bacterial inoculation, in planta nitrogen fixation in young seedlings of wild rice, O. officinalis, was detected by the acetylene reduction and 15N2 gas incorporation assays. Therefore, we conclude that Herbaspirillum sp. strain B501 is a diazotrophic endophyte compatible with wild rice, particularly O. officinalis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5285-5293
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number3-12
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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