Microbial Ecology

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 167–177 | Cite as

Cellulolytic bacteria as primary colonizers ofPotamogeton pectinatus L. (Sago Pond Weed) from a Brackish South-Temperate Coastal Lake

  • Frank Robb
  • Bryan R. Davies
  • Robin Cross
  • Colin Kenyon
  • Clive Howard-Williams


Bacteria adhering to newly emerged and decomposing leaves ofPotamogeton pectinatus L. were examined using scanning electron microscopy. Bacteria obtained from mature leaves were isolated, grown in pure culture, and allowed to infect bacteria-free leaves. Infected leaves and individual isolates were examined by scanning electron microscopy. The method provided detail of the forms of bacterial attachment to leaf surfaces.

Supernatants from isolate cultures were assayed for cellulase activity. Six out of eight isolates produced extracellular cellulase in medium containing carboxymethyl cellulose. In one isolate cellulase was produced at discrete intervals, at the beginning and end of the growth cycle. The adhesion of the isolates toP. pectinatus leaves, as well as their possession of cellulase, are considered as evidence of an active role of bacteria in the degradation ofP. pectinatus foliage. The system is unusual in that bacteria, as opposed to fungi, are primary colonizers of the leaves.


Cellulose Scanning Electron Microscopy Cellulase Pure Culture Leaf Surface 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Robb
    • 1
  • Bryan R. Davies
    • 2
  • Robin Cross
    • 3
  • Colin Kenyon
    • 1
  • Clive Howard-Williams
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Institute for Freshwater StudiesRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Electron Microscopy UnitRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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