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    Author(s): M. Esther Puente; Ching Y. Li; Yoav Bashan
    Date: 2009
    Source: Environmental and Experimental Botany. 66: 389-401.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (6.95 MB)


    A plant-bacterium association of the cardon cactus (Pachycereus pringlei) and endophytic bacteria promotes establishment of seedlings and growth on igneous rocks without soil. These bacteria weather several rock types and minerals, unbind significant amounts of useful minerals for plants from the rocks, fix in vitro N2. produce volatile and non-volatile organic acids, and reduce rock particle size to form mineral soil. This study revealed the presence of large populations of culturabIe endophytic bacteria inside the seeds extracted from wild plants, from seeds extracted from the guano of bats feeding on cactus fruit, in seedlings growing from these seeds, in the pulp of fruit, and in small, mature wild plants, and are comparable in size to populations of endophytic populations in some agricultural crops. The dominant culturable endophytes were isolates of the genera Bacillus spp., Klebsiella spp., Staphylococcus spp., and Pseudomonas spp. Based on partial sequencing of the 16s rRNA gene, the isolated strains had low similarity to known strains in these genera. However, these strains have higher molecular similarity among endophytes obtained from seeds, endophytes from roots, and some bacterial strains from the rhizoplane. Seedlings developed from seeds with endophytes contain the similar species of endophytes in their shoots, possibly derived from the seeds. This study shows the involvement of endophytic bacteria in rock weathering by cacti in a hot, subtropical desert and their possible contribution to primary colonization of barren rock. This study proposes that cacti capable of acquiring diverse populations of endophytes may give them an evolutionary advantage to gain a foothold on highly uncompromising terrain.

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    Puente, M.E.; Li, C.Y.; Bashan, Y. 2009. Rock-degrading endophytic bacteria in cacti. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 66: 389-401.


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    Bacillus, cactus cardon, desert, rock degradation, nitrogen fixation, Pachycereus, phosphate solubilization, rock weathering, soil formation

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