Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 16, Issue 3–4, pp 222–225 | Cite as

Prevention of pink-pigmented methylotrophic bacteria (Methylohacterium mesophilicum) contamination of plant tissue cultures

  • Sermsiri Chanprame
  • J. J. Todd
  • J. M. Widholm


Pink-pigmented facultative methylotrophic bacteria (PPFMs) have been found on the surfaces of leaves of most plants tested. We found PPFMs on the leaf surfaces of all 40 plants (38 species) tested and on soybean pods by pressing onto AMS medium with methanol as the sole carbon source. The abundance ranged from 0.5 colony forming unit (cfu) /cm2 to 69.4 cfu/cm2 on the leaf surfaces. PPFMs were found in homogenized leaf tissues of only 4 of the species after surface disinfestation with 1.05% sodium hypochlorite and were rarely found in cultures initiated from surface disinfested Datura innoxia leaves or inside surface disinfested soybean pods. Of 20 antibiotics tested for PPFM growth inhibition, rifampicin was the most effective and of seven others which also inhibited PPFM growth, cefotaxime should be the most useful due to the expected low plant cell toxicity. These antibiotics could be used in concert with common surface sterilization procedures to prevent the introduction or to eliminate PPFM bacteria in tissue cultures. Thus, while PPFMs are present on the surfaces of most plant tissues, surface disinfestation alone can effectively remove them so that uncontaminated tissue cultures can be initiated in most cases.

Key Words

Pink-Pigmented Facultative Methylotrophic Bacteria Plant Tissue Culture Methylobacterium mesophilicum 



ammonium mineral salts medium


colony forming unit


pink-pigmented facultative methylotrophic bacteria


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sermsiri Chanprame
    • 1
  • J. J. Todd
    • 1
  • J. M. Widholm
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Crop SciencesUniversity of Illinois, Edward R. Madigan LaboratoryUrbanaUSA

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