, Volume 189, Issue 4, pp 411-418
Date: 08 Nov 2007

Phage specificity and lipopolysaccarides of stem- and root-nodulating bacteria (Azorhizobium caulinodans, Sinorhizobium spp., and Rhizobium spp.) of Sesbania spp.

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Phage susceptibility pattern and its correlation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and plasmid profiles may help in understanding the phenotypic and genotypic diversity among highly promiscuous group of rhizobia nodulating Sesbania spp.; 43 phages were from two stem-nodulating bacteria of S. rostrata and 16 phages were from root-nodulating bacteria of S. sesban, S. aegyptica and S. rostrata. Phage susceptibility pattern of 38 Sesbania nodulating bacteria was correlated with their LPS rather than plasmid profiles. Different species of bacteria (A. caulinodans- ORS571, SRS1-3 and Sinorhizobium saheli- SRR907, SRR912) showing distinct LPS subtypes were susceptible to different group of phages. Phages could also discriminate the strains of Si. saheli (SSR312, SAR610) possessing distinct LPS subtypes. Phages of Si. meliloti (SSR302) were strain-specific. All the strains of R. huautlense having incomplete LPS (insignificant O-chain) were phage-resistant. In in vitro assay, 100% of the phages were adsorbed to LPS of indicator bacterium or its closely related strain(s) only. These observations suggest the significance of LPS in phage specificity of Sesbania nodulating rhizobia. Highly specific phages may serve as biological marker for monitoring the susceptible bacterial strains in culture collections and environment.

Communicated by Ercko Stackebrand.