Author(s): F Di Cello, A Bevivino, L Chiarini, R Fani, D Paffetti
A Burkholderia cepacia population naturally occurring in the rhizosphere of Zea mays was investigated in order to assess the degree of root association and microbial biodiversity at five stages of plant growth. The bacterial strains isolated on semiselective PCAT medium were mostly assigned to the species B. cepacia by an analysis of the restriction patterns produced by amplified DNA coding for 16S rRNA (16S rDNA) (ARDRA) with the enzyme AluI. Partial 16S rDNA nucleotide sequences of some randomly chosen isolates confirmed the ARDRA results. Throughout the study, B. cepacia was strictly associated with maize roots, ranging from 0.6 to 3.6% of the total cultivable microflora. Biodiversity among 83 B. cepacia isolates was analyzed by the random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique with two 10-mer primers. An analysis of RAPD patterns by the analysis of molecular variance method revealed a high level of intraspecific genetic diversity in this B. cepacia population. Moreover, the genetic diversity was related to divergences among maize root samplings, with microbial genetic variability markedly higher in the first stages of plant growth; in other words, the biodiversity of this rhizosphere bacterial population decreased over time.