Plant and Soil

, Volume 90, Issue 1–3, pp 59–69 | Cite as

Adhesion of fimbriated nitrogen-fixing enteric bacteria to roots of grasses and cereals

  • Timo K. Korhonen
  • Eeva-Liisa Nurmiaho-Lassila
  • Tuula Laakso
  • Kielo Haahtela
Biology of Interactions between Plants and Diazotrophic Bacteria


The role of fimbriae in enterobacterial adhesion to roots of grasses and cereals is discussed. All nitrogen-fixing enteric bacteria isolated in Finland had fimbriae. AllEnterobacter isolates had mannose-binding type-1 fimbriae, whereas most of theKlebsiella isolates had both type-1 and type-3 fimbriae. The strains were isolated from a total of ten different grass species, and no specific association was found between grass species and bacterial fimbriation, biogroup or serogroup. Purified, radiolabeled fimbriae bound to roots ofPoa pratensis in vitro, and bacterial adhesion was inhibited by Fab fragments specific for fimbriae.Klebsiella strains carrying type-3 fimbriae adhered to roots of various grasses and cereals more efficiently than type-1- or nonfimbriated strains, and it was concluded that type-3 fimbriae are the major adhesions ofKlebsiella. Immunofluorescence studies revealed that the bacteria preferentially adhered to root hairs, and to a lesser extent, to the zone of elongation and the root cap mucilage. No strict host specificity in enterobacterial adhesion was observed.

Key words

Associative nitrogen fixation Bacterial adhesion Cereals Enteric bacteria Fimbriae Grasses 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timo K. Korhonen
    • 1
  • Eeva-Liisa Nurmiaho-Lassila
    • 1
  • Tuula Laakso
    • 1
  • Kielo Haahtela
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of General MicrobiologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinki 28Finland

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