Plant and Soil

, Volume 334, Issue 1–2, pp 461–474 | Cite as

Diversity of endophytic bacteria from the cuprophytes Haumaniastrum katangense and Crepidorhopalon tenuis

  • Alfred Cubaka Kabagale
  • Bertrand Cornu
  • Françoise van Vliet
  • Claire-Lise Meyer
  • Max Mergeay
  • Jean-Baptiste Lumbu Simbi
  • Louis Droogmans
  • Corinne Vander WauvenEmail author
  • Nathalie Verbruggen
Regular Article


Haumaniastrum katangense and Crepidorhopalon tenuis are two cuprophytes characteristic of the Katangan Copper Belt flora. We have studied the endophytic bacteria of H. katangense and C. tenuis as a first step to evaluate their potential contribution to plant adaptation to copper excess. Although their number varied considerably from sample to sample, culturable bacteria were found in roots and shoots of most plants. More than 800 isolates were screened for each plant species. Identification of isolates based on the sequence of the 16S rRNA gene, allocated them to 31 taxonomic units, belonging to 17 genera, mainly Proteobacteria. A great proportion of the bacteria were cupro-resistant and often resistant to other metals, especially zinc and cobalt, as well as nickel for the Methylobacterium isolates. Direct PCR amplification of the polymorphic bacterial internal transcribed spacer (ITS) from the plants’ organs DNA revealed a more diverse endophytic community, with more Gram+, among which a Rubrobacteridae that was never found associated with plants before. This work represents the first study of endophytes in Katangan cuprophytes.


Copper tolerance Haumaniastrum katangense Crepidorhopalon tenuis Endophytic bacteria 



A.C.K was supported by a PhD fellowship from the Coopération Technique Belge. C.-L. M. is supported by a grant on the Interuniversity Attraction Pole Programme VI/33 (Belgian Science Policy). The project is supported by a grant from the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FRFC n°2.4558.08). Special thanks are due to M. G. Colinet and Professors P. Meerts and M. Ngongo in charge of the PIC REMEDLU project, for their assistance and advices.

Supplementary material

11104_2010_396_MOESM1_ESM.doc (36 kb)
Table S1 Number of plant specimens containing endophytic isolates from the same taxonomic group as the mentioned isolate. +, presence of isolate; −, absence of isolate. n = 7 (H. katangense) and 6 (C. tenuis). Results from Pearson’s chi square exact tests are indicated for each taxon. Isolates were considered for the statistical analysis when they were detected more than once (DOC 34 kb).
11104_2010_396_MOESM2_ESM.doc (52 kb)
Table S2 Distribution between plant species and among organs of the ITS amplicons obtained from more than one plant-extracted DNA sample. +, number of DNA samples from which the sequence was obtained; −, number of samples from which it was not obtained. n = 8 for H. katangense; n = 6 for C. tenuis leaves and stems and n = 4 for C. tenuis roots. No significant differences were found between species. Significant differences among organs are in bold and indicated as follows: **, P < 0.001; *, P < 0.05. Ampl. for amplicon (DOC 47 kb).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfred Cubaka Kabagale
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  • Bertrand Cornu
    • 2
  • Françoise van Vliet
    • 2
  • Claire-Lise Meyer
    • 1
  • Max Mergeay
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jean-Baptiste Lumbu Simbi
    • 5
  • Louis Droogmans
    • 3
  • Corinne Vander Wauven
    • 2
    Email author
  • Nathalie Verbruggen
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physiologie et de Génétique Moléculaire des PlantesUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Institut de Recherches Microbiologiques JMWBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Laboratoire de MicrobiologieUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.Molecular and Cellular Biology, Unit for MicrobiologyBelgian Center for Nuclear Energy (SCK*CEN)MolBelgium
  5. 5.Laboratoire de Chimie OrganiqueUniversité de LubumbashiKatangaDRC
  6. 6.Laboratoire de Physiologie Végétale et de Microbiologie AppliquéeUniversité Officielle de BukavuSud-KivuDRC

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