Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: September 30, 2004
Publication Date: December 1, 2004
Citation: Bacon, C.W., Hinton, D.M. 2004. Techniques for manipulating the bacterial endophyte bacillus mojavensis. In: Spencer, J.F.F, Ragout de Spencer, A.L. , editors. Methods in Biotechnology: Environmental Microbiology: Methods and Protocols. Totowa, NJ. Humana Press. p. 359-377. Interpretive Summary: Scientists in the Toxicology and Mycotoxin Research Unit at Russell Research Center, Athens, discovered that bacteria of the genus Bacillus mojavensis form a natural group of endophytes that can protect plants from fungal diseases such as seedling blight and root rots. These bacterial endophytes also have the potential of reducing mycotoxin production by fungal species that colonize corn, wheat and other cereals. However, the host range for these bacteria are wide, therefore the utility of the groups as potential biocontrols for several plant diseases are emence. Because of their uniqueness and recency of this discovery, scientists were invited to contribute a chapter to a book devoted to the useful application of bacteria. In this chapter salient aspects of this bacterium are presented and these include isolations from plant parts, molecular and mutation characterizations, methods of storage and culturing, and endophytic descriptions are presented.
Technical Abstract: The importance of Fusarium species as symptomless endophytes in plant roots is reviewed. Fusarium is a very important genus from the aspects of food production and food safety and its species exist as intercellular root endophytes in both cultivated and wild plants and the role during the symptomless state of infection is ambiguous. However, many species are pathogenic causing diseases, such as root, stem and ear rots, on crop plants, thereby reducing plant productivity. Another concern is that many Fusarium species produce mycotoxins that are harmful to humans and animals ingesting food or feed products colonized by the fungus, and in particular because the concentrations of toxins are higher in the roots and produced not only in pathogenic associations, but also in endophytic ones. The dual characterization of F. verticillioides as both a pathogen and a symptomless endophyte indicates both a complex relationship with plants. Consequently, the development of appropriate control measures for virulent Fusarium isolates are expected to be difficult. On the other hand, the intimate association of the endophytic state of this species appears to confer some positive competitive fitness traits to certain plants. The extent to which this occurs will be determined with more detailed studies. The association of this genus with roots as symptomless endophytes indicates its role in nutrition of these fungi, and suggests the importance of the root as an endophytic niche in the evolution of Fusarium species with plants.