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      Characterizing endophytic competence and plant growth promotion of bacterial endophytes inhabiting the seed endosphere of Rice

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          Rice ( Oryza sativa L. ssp. indica) seeds as plant microbiome present both an opportunity and a challenge to colonizing bacterial community living in close association with plants. Nevertheless, the roles and activities of bacterial endophytes remain largely unexplored and insights into plant-microbe interaction are compounded by its complexity. In this study, putative functions or physiological properties associated with bacterial endophytic nature were assessed. Also, endophytic roles in plant growth and germination that may allow them to be selectively chosen by plants were also studied.


          The cultivable seed endophytes were dominated by Proteobacteria particularly class Gammaproteobacteria. Highly identical type strains were isolated from the seed endosphere regardless of the rice host’s physiological tolerance to salinity. Among the type strains, Flavobacterium sp., Microbacterium sp. and Xanthomonas sp. were isolated from the salt-sensitive and salt-tolerant cultivars. PCA-Biplot ordination also showed that specific type strains isolated from different rice cultivars have distinguishing similar characteristics. Flavobacterium sp. strains are phosphate solubilizers and indole-3-acetic acid producers with high tolerance to salinity and osmotic stress. Pseudomonas strains are characterized as high siderophore producers while Microbacterium sp. and Xanthomonas sp. strains have very high pectinase and cellulase activity. Among the physiological traits of the seed endophytes, bacterial pectinase and cellulase activity are positively correlated as well as salt and osmotic tolerance. Overall characterization shows that majority of the isolates could survive in 4–8% salt concentration as well as in 0.6 M and 1.2 M sucrose solution. The activities of catalase, pectinase and cellulase were also observed in almost all of the isolates indicating the importance of these characteristics for survival and colonization into the seed endosphere. Seed bacterial endophytes also showed promising plant growth promoting activities including hormone modulation, nitrogen fixation, siderophore production and phosphate solubilization.


          Though many of the isolates possess similar PGP and endophytic physiological traits, this study shows some prominent and distinguishing traits among bacterial groups indicating key determinants for their success as endophytes in the rice seed endosphere. Rice seeds are also inhabited by bacterial endophytes that promote growth during early seedling development.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (10.1186/s12866-017-1117-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 69

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          MEGA6: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis version 6.0.

          We announce the release of an advanced version of the Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software, which currently contains facilities for building sequence alignments, inferring phylogenetic histories, and conducting molecular evolutionary analysis. In version 6.0, MEGA now enables the inference of timetrees, as it implements the RelTime method for estimating divergence times for all branching points in a phylogeny. A new Timetree Wizard in MEGA6 facilitates this timetree inference by providing a graphical user interface (GUI) to specify the phylogeny and calibration constraints step-by-step. This version also contains enhanced algorithms to search for the optimal trees under evolutionary criteria and implements a more advanced memory management that can double the size of sequence data sets to which MEGA can be applied. Both GUI and command-line versions of MEGA6 can be downloaded from free of charge.
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            The neighbor-joining method: a new method for reconstructing phylogenetic trees.

            A new method called the neighbor-joining method is proposed for reconstructing phylogenetic trees from evolutionary distance data. The principle of this method is to find pairs of operational taxonomic units (OTUs [= neighbors]) that minimize the total branch length at each stage of clustering of OTUs starting with a starlike tree. The branch lengths as well as the topology of a parsimonious tree can quickly be obtained by using this method. Using computer simulation, we studied the efficiency of this method in obtaining the correct unrooted tree in comparison with that of five other tree-making methods: the unweighted pair group method of analysis, Farris's method, Sattath and Tversky's method, Li's method, and Tateno et al.'s modified Farris method. The new, neighbor-joining method and Sattath and Tversky's method are shown to be generally better than the other methods.
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              CLUSTAL W: improving the sensitivity of progressive multiple sequence alignment through sequence weighting, position-specific gap penalties and weight matrix choice


                Author and article information

                +82-43-261-2561 ,
                BMC Microbiol
                BMC Microbiol
                BMC Microbiology
                BioMed Central (London )
                26 October 2017
                26 October 2017
                : 17
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0000 9611 0917, GRID grid.254229.a, Department of Environmental and Biological Chemistry, College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences, , Chungbuk National University, ; Cheongju, Chungbuk 28644 Republic of Korea
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2180 6431, GRID grid.4280.e, Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, Biomaterials and Biocatalyst, , National University of Singapore, ; Singapore, Singapore
                © The Author(s). 2017

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef, National Research Foundation of Korea;
                Award ID: 2015R1A2A1A05001885
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                © The Author(s) 2017


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