2009 Volume 24 Issue 2 Pages 154-162
Endophytic bacteria are considered to originate from the external environment. To examine the hypothesis that rice (Oryza sativa, cultivar Kinuhikari) seeds are a source of endophytic bacteria, we isolated endophytic bacteria from the shoots, remains of the seeds, and roots of rice seedlings that were aseptically cultivated in vitro from surface-disinfected seeds. Of the various bacterial strains isolated, the closest relatives, identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, were: Bacillus firmus, B. fusiformis, B. pumilus, Caulobacter crescentus, Kocuria palustris, Micrococcus luteus, Methylobacterium fujisawaense, Me. radiotolerans, and Pantoea ananatis. The latter three species have been detected frequently inside both rice seedlings and mature rice plants. These results indicate that rice seeds are an important source of endophytic bacteria. The bacteria that colonize the seed interior appear to infect the subsequent generation via rice seeds and become the dominant endophytic species in the mature plant.