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Characterization Of Endophytic Bacteria From Cucurbit Fruits With Potential Benefits To Agriculture In Melons (Cucumis Melo L.).

H. Glassner, E. Zchori-Fein, S. Compant, A. Sessitsch, N. Katzir, V. Portnoy, S. Yaron
Published 2015 · Medicine, Biology

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Endophytes are microorganisms that mainly colonize vegetative parts, but are also found in reproductive and disseminating organs, and may have beneficial characteristics. To identify microorganisms associated with the agriculturally important family, Cucurbitaceae, endophytes were initially determined in fruits of Cucumis melo Reticulatus Group 'Dulce' by a cultivation-independent approach based on fluorescence in situ hybridization using double labeling of oligonucleotide probes. Alpha-, Beta-, Gammaproteobacteria, Firmicutes and Actinobacteria were localized inside the fruits. Culturable bacteria were further isolated and identified from fruit tissues of 'Dulce', from fruits of other cultivated and wild-field-grown Cucurbitaceae, and from wild fruits growing under natural conditions. Low densities of culturable bacteria were detected in the investigated fruits, especially in four out of the five wild species, regardless of their growing environment. Substantial differences were observed between the wild and cultivated cucurbit taxa in regard to the number of colonized fruits as well as the type of endophytes. Bacillus was the most dominant genus of endophytes colonizing fruits of Cucurbitaceae. The antagonistic effects of isolated endophytes were assessed against cucurbit disease agents in dual-culture assays. Several bacterial isolates exhibited antagonistic properties against the tested plant pathogens. The identified bacteria may be useful for protecting plants not only in the field, but also for post-harvest.
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