, Volume 150, Issue 2, pp 177-191

Quantitative and qualitative seasonal changes in the microbial community from the phyllosphere of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris)

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Abstract

Bacteria, yeasts and filamentous fungi colonizing immature, mature and senescing primary leaves of field grown Beta vulgaris (sugar beet) were analysed over a complete growing season. Greatest microbial numbers were detected on senescing primary leaves and these numbers increased over most of the season. The number of colonizers detected on mature leaves was found to be stable over most of the study.

Filamentous fungi and yeasts were identified to the genus level and the communities found to have greatest diversity during the summer months. There was no consistent pattern of diversity according to leaf type. Two genera of filamentous fungi, Cladosporium and Alternaria and two yeast genera, Cryptococcus and Sporobolomyces were the most numerous fungal populations isolated. Only 8 filamentous fungi and 3 yeast genera were commonly isolated on PDA (potato dextrose agar).

Bacterial strains (1236) were isolated on Tryptic Soy Broth (TSB) agar and identified to species, or in some cases sub-species level, by analysis of their fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) profiles. Isolated bacteria were grouped into 78 named and 37 unnamed species clusters. Greatest number of bacterial species were isolated from young plants and leaves, sampled during the autumn months. Bacterial community diversity was lowest in mid-summer and winter months. Pseudomonas was the most commonly isolated genus and Erwinia herbicola the most common species. P. aureofaciens was the only species isolated from soil that was also isolated from the phyllosphere of B. vulgaris throughout the season.