A total of 100 isolates of chitinolytic bacteria were obtained from the rhizospheres of various agronomic plants, and the 16S rRNA gene sequences of these isolates were determined. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that 81 isolates belonged to the classes Betaproteobacteria (39 isolates) and Gammaproteobacteria (42 isolates). Of the remaining 19 isolates, 16 belonged to the phylum Firmicutes. Clustering analysis identified 6 and 3 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) in Gammaproteobacteria and Betaproteobacteria, respectively, at the genus level. The majority of chitinolytic bacteria in Gammaproteobacteria belonged to the genera Serratia, Stenotrophomonas, and Lysobacter (14, 15, and 7 isolates, respectively) while those in Betaproteobacteria belonged to the genus Mitsuaria (37 isolates). The 16 isolates placed in Firmicutes belonged to 2 genera, Paenibacillus and Bacillus (8 isolates each). The isolates in the remaining OTUs belonged to the genera Erwinia, Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, Achromobacter, Flavobacterium, and Microbacterium, in less abundance. These results showed a wide distribution of culturable chitinolytic bacteria in the rhizospheres of various agronomic plants. Considering the potential antagonistic activity of chitinolytic enzymes against phytopathogenic fungi, which is exhibited by fungal cell wall degradation, the above-mentioned native chitinolytic bacteria in rhizospheres could potentially be utilized for the biological control of soil-borne phytopathogenic fungi.
Japanese Society of Microbial Ecology / Japanese Society of Soil Microbiology / Taiwan Society of Microbial Ecology