Plant and Soil

, Volume 186, Issue 1, pp 135–142 | Cite as

A diazotrophic bacterial endophyte isolated from stems of Zea mays L. and Zea luxurians Iltis and Doebley

  • James A. Palus
  • James Borneman
  • Paul W. Ludden
  • Eric W. Triplett


The apoplastic fluids of field-grown Zea mays and Zea luxurians plants were isolated from surface sterilized stem tissue by centrifugation and spread on agar plates containing a nitrogen-free, defined medium. The predominant bacterium isolated from these plates was characterized further. The ability of this bacterium to fix nitrogen was confirmed by its ability to grow on a semi-solid, nitrogen-free medium and reduce 15N2 to 15NH3 and acetylene to ethylene. Protions of the nifH and 16S rRNA genes from this organism were amplified by PCR and sequenced. The nifH gene, which codes for dinitrogenase reductase, from this organism is closely related to nifH from Klebsiella pneumoniae. Similarly, the 16S rRNA gene sequences and carbon utilization tests grouped it closely with K. pneumoniae. Based an these data, the isolates from Z. mays and Z. luxurians are tentatively classified as Klebsiella spp. (Zea). The ability of this bacterium to contribute to the nitrogen economy of the corn plant is unknown.

Key words

diazotrophs endophytes Klebsiella sweet corn Zea 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • James A. Palus
    • 1
    • 3
  • James Borneman
    • 1
    • 3
  • Paul W. Ludden
    • 2
    • 3
  • Eric W. Triplett
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of AgronomyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.the Center for the Study of Nitrogen FixationUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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