Effects of two different application methods of Burkholderia ambifaria MCI 7 on plant growth and rhizospheric bacterial diversity

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In order to acquire a better understanding of the effects of the different delivery modes of bacterial inoculants on plant growth and on the community structure of rhizosphere bacterial populations, Burkholderia ambifaria MCI 7 (formerly B. cepacia MCI 7) was inoculated into the rhizosphere of maize plants by either seed adhesion or incorporation into soil. Plant growth was evaluated at different inoculum concentrations. The community structure of rhizosphere bacterial populations was evaluated by analysing the restriction patterns of the DNA coding for 16S rRNA amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (ARDRA) of 745 bacterial isolates. A number of diversity indices (richness, Shannon diversity, evenness and mean genetic distance) were calculated for each bacterial population isolated from control and treated plants according to the concept of the r/K strategy. Moreover, the analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) method was applied to estimate the genetic differences among the various bacterial populations. Our results showed that the method of application can be an essential element in determining the effects of the inoculant on plant growth. In fact, when applied as a maize seed treatment, B. ambifaria MCI 7 promoted plant growth significantly; on the contrary, when incorporated into soil, the same strain reduced plant growth markedly. As far as the bacterial community structure is concerned, B. ambifaria MCI 7 affected the indigenous microflora of treated plants according to the application method: seed treatment brought about an abrupt decrease in bacterial diversity, whereas incorporation into soil increased bacterial diversity. Moreover, changes in bacterial diversity were limited to r-strategist bacteria. In conclusion, B. ambifaria MCI 7 can act as both a plant growth-promoting rhizobacterium and a deleterious rhizobacterium depending on the inoculation method.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238 - 245
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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