Plant Growth-Promoting Bacterial Endophytes that contain ACC Deaminase: Isolation, Characterization, and Use
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Bacteria that provide benefit to plants are considered to be plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) and can facilitate plant growth by a number of different mechanisms. Plant growth-promoting bacteria that are able to utilize the plant compound 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) as a sole source of nitrogen, as a consequence of possessing the enzyme ACC deaminase, can protect host plants from a number of environmental stresses. In addition to ACC deaminase, PGPB may utilize other mechanisms to facilitate plant growth including IAA synthesis, siderophore production, phosphate solubilization activity, ammonia production, and antibiotic production. Plant growth-promoting bacterial endophytes employ similar plant growth promotion mechanisms to those used by rhizospheric PGPB. In fact, bacterial endophytes are PGPB that go one step further and colonize the inside of the plant tissues and provide more efficient and prompted protection to their hosts compared to those that bind exclusively to the plant’s rhizosphere. Therefore, it is likely that endophytic plant growth-promoting bacteria will be superior to similar non-endophytic bacterial strains in promoting plant growth under a wide range of environmental conditions. In the work reported here, new bacterial endophytes were isolated and characterized. Among twenty-five ACC deaminase positive strains, two best strains were selected and ACC deaminase deficient mutants were constructed. The ability of two newly isolated 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) deaminase-containing plant growth-promoting bacterial endophytes Pseudomonas fluorescens YsS6, Pseudomonas migulae 8R6 and their ACC deaminase deficient mutants was shown to 1) delay the senescence of mini carnation cut flowers and 2) to facilitate tomato plant growth under salinity stress. In the mini carnation flower senescence evaluation, the only difference between wild-type and mutant bacterial endophytes was ACC deaminase activity, our results demonstrate that this enzyme is directly responsible for a significant delay in flower senescence. Despite containing ACC deaminase activity, the rhizosphere-binding PGPB Pseudomonas putida UW4 was not taken up by the cut flowers and therefore had no effect on prolonging flower shelf life. In evaluating the effect of bacterial endophytes under salt stress, tomato plants treated with either of the wild-type strains of the two selected bacterial endophytes demonstrated early flowering and fruiting and had significantly greater numbers of flowers, buds, and fruits than either the corresponding ACC deaminase mutant strain-treated plants or the control plants. Although both bacterial endophytes P. fluorescens YsS6 and P. migulae 8R6 showed significant plant growth-promotion capabilities, P. migulae 8R6 demonstrated better plant growth facilitation under salt stress than did P. fluorescens YsS6. P. migulae 8R6 treated tomato plants demonstrated the least sodium uptake, the highest chlorophyll content, and highest fresh and dry biomass. The results of the work presented here suggest that ACC deaminase containing selected bacterial endophytes could be employed as environmentally friendly adjuncts to agricultural and horticultural practice.