, Volume 175, Issue 2, pp 257-263

The role of endophytic bacteria during seed piece decay and potato tuberization

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Healthy potato tubers (Solanum tuberosum L.) cv. Kennebec were found to be internally colonized by non-pathogenic bacterial populations originating from root zone soil. These endophytic bacteria were categorized, on the basis of bioassays, as plant growth promoting (PGP), plant growth retarding (PGR) and plant growth neutral (PGN). Genera isolated from tubers included Pseudomonas, Bacillus, Xanthomonas, Agrobacterium, Actinomyces and Acinetobacter. The PGP and PGR isolates were similarly distributed throughout these genera. Bacterial populations increased in the root zone soil directly adjacent to the seed piece during and immediately following seed piece decay. Bacteria sampled at this time were capable of promoting tuber number and weight. The proportions of PGP, PGR and PGN bacteria in the root zone were altered as endophytic bacteria were released from the decaying seed piece. The study indicates that endophytic bacteria present in the seed tubers may play an important role in seed piece decay, tuberization and plant growth.