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New groups of bacteria found near plant roots


August 18, 2011
By Wageningen UR

WEB EXCLUSIVE

New groups of bacteria found near plant roots

Plant Research
International, part of Wageningen UR, has discovered two new groups of
bacteria that live in interaction with plants.

Aug 17, 2011, Wageningen, the Netherlands — Plant Research International, part of Wageningen UR, has discovered two new groups of bacteria that live in interaction with plants.

The findings partly resulted from the use of new technologies for isolating bacteria from soil and plant samples. Ulisses Nunes da Rocha obtained his doctorate at the University of Groningen last fall with this research, which was carried out at Plant Research International.
 
Acidobacteria and Verrucomicrobia are groups of bacteria that are commonly present in the soil. Until recently it was difficult to carry out research into these species as they are generally hard to culture. Nunes de Rocha (Brazil, 1981) managed to study the species by using new technologies that help isolate bacteria, and indicated the presence of the bacteria in the soil and plant samples based on their DNA sequence.
 
By using these DNA technologies, Nunes da Rocha found that there are Acidobacteria and Verrucomicrobia bacteria that mainly live in the direct surroundings of plant roots, the so-called rhizosphere. This shows that there is interaction between the plants and the bacteria, the exact details of which will require further research.
 
Nunes de Rocha managed to culture the Acidobacteria and Verrucomicrobia bacteria outside the soil, and discovered that various types actively move towards the roots. These bacteria are apparently able to identify and react to compounds that plants release into the soil via their roots.
 
It is not yet clear how the newly discovered bacteria affect plant growth. Although Nunes de Rocha found that the appearance of leek roots changed in the presence of some of the bacteria, he has as yet been unable to determine whether the bacteria had a positive, negative or neutral impact on plant growth.
 

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3755_ulisses_nunes_da_rocha
Ulisses Nunes de Rocha in his labaratory at Wageningen UR in he Netherlands.
PHOTOS COURTESY WAGENINGEN UR

3755_counting
Ulisses Nunes de Rocha studied bacterial growth in the direct vicinity of plant roots.

3755_irve_-_1_125
Ulisses Nunes de Rocha found two new groups of bacteria species that
live in the vicinity of plant roots. The white “cloud” consists out of
bacteria that grow very well in the vicinity of the plant root.


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