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Abstract In this study, the effects of organic fertilizers on internal quality and rooting of snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) were investigated. Seedlings of ‘White Rocket’, ‘Rocket Gold’, ‘Orchid’, ‘Red Stone’ and ‘Red Rocket’ species were transplanted into 12 L pots filled with 1:1 sand: soil mixture at the beginning of March 2011. Two different liquid biological fertilizers were used. The first one is the Effective Microorganisms (EM®) consisting of lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum), photosynthesis bacteria (Rhodopseudomonas palustris) and fermentation bacteria (Saccharomyces cervisiae); the second one is Rhizo Vital 42® consisting of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens bacteria. The physiological quality of the petals was investigated. With regard to petal P-dissipation values, while EM treatments yielded almost identical results with the control treatment, Rhizo Vital 42 treatments had lower yield values than the control treatment. Both organic fertilizer treatments improved rooting and effects of EM treatments on rooting were found to be significant. Biophoton measurements were also performed over the petals and photoluminescence values of fertilizer treatments of all species were found to be lower than the control plants. In other words, organic fertilizer treatments improved the quality by decreasing the stress levels in petals. © 2016 Friends Science Publishers Keywords: Dissipation value; Biophoton emission; Effective microorganisms; Rhizo Vital 42
ISSN Print: 15608530; ISSN Online: 18149596
DOI: 10.17957/IJAB/15.0117
Full Length Article
To cite this paper: Demirkaya, M., W. Stumpf and K. Jezik, 2016. Influence of organic fertilizers on physiological quality and rooting of snapdragons
(Antirrhinum majus). Int. J. Agric. Biol., 18: 515520
Influence of Organic Fertilizers on Physiological Quality and Rooting of
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)
Mustafa Demirkaya1*, Werner Stumpf2 and Karoline Jezik2
1Department of Agriculture, Safiye Cikrikcioglu Vocational College, Erciyes University, 38039, Kayseri, Turkey
2Department of Crop Sciences, Division of Vegetables and Ornamentals, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences,
Gregor-Mendel-Strasse 33, 1180, Vienna, Austria
*For correspondence:
In this study, the effects of organic fertilizers on internal quality and rooting of snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) were
investigated. Seedlings of ‘White Rocket’, ‘Rocket Gold’, ‘Orchid’, ‘Red Stone’ and ‘Red Rocket’ species were transplanted
into 12 L pots filled with 1:1 sand: soil mixture at the beginning of March 2011. Two different liquid biological fertilizers
were used. The first one is the Effective Microorganisms (EM®) consisting of lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus casei and
Lactobacillus plantarum), photosynthesis bacteria (Rhodopseudomonas palustris) and fermentation bacteria (Saccharomyces
cervisiae); the second one is Rhizo Vital 42® consisting of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens bacteria. The physiological quality of
the petals was investigated. With regard to petal P-dissipation values, while EM treatments yielded almost identical results
with the control treatment, Rhizo Vital 42 treatments had lower yield values than the control treatment. Both organic fertilizer
treatments improved rooting and effects of EM treatments on rooting were found to be significant. Biophoton measurements
were also performed over the petals and photoluminescence values of fertilizer treatments of all species were found to be
lower than the control plants. In other words, organic fertilizer treatments improved the quality by decreasing the stress levels
in petals. © 2016 Friends Science Publishers
Keywords: Dissipation value; Biophoton emission; Effective microorganisms; Rhizo Vital 42
There are different microorganisms exist like bacteria and
fungi from which normally developing plants are not
affected. However, there are also some bacteria and fungi
that can cause diseases. Moreover, there are different
species of bacteria and fungi that stimulate plant
development and health (Jezik et al., 2011).
Since intensive agricultural practices may result in
various environmental problems, organic farming practices
are getting more and more popular nowadays. Thus,
biofertilizers are commonly recommended instead of
synthetic fertilizers (Karakurt et al., 2011). Plant growth
promoting rhizobacteria (Bacillus species) are also
commonly used to promote plant growth and development
(Priest et al., 1987).
Effective Microorganisms (EM)
The EM of the present study is a commercial organic
fertilizer containing regenerative microorganisms.
Microorganisms enable a suitable environment for
fermentation and play an important role in plant quality and
soil productivity. Fermentative fragmentation is stimulated
by the cease of decomposition. That means edible
microorganisms exist on the soil, optimum results can be
extracted, diseases can be prevented and high quality
products can be produced. Over all, EM generally works in
anaerobic areas in which the problems such as
decomposing, putrefaction etc. appear. Thus, they can be
used in anaerobic areas more efficiently. EM can be used to
revive the soil, increase soil fertility and remove odor,
increase the soil temperature, clean water etc.
Microorganisms can be used in all areas of life. When EM
have no other tasks, it is not difficult for pathogens to
disappear. It is also easy to remove EM from the soil
through negative signals (Lorch, 2010).
EM consists of lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus casei
and Lactobacillus plantarum), photosynthesis bacteria
(Rhodopseudomonas palustris) and fermentation bacteria
(Saccharomyces cervisiae). EM do not include any
genetically modified organisms. Following the preparation,
it must be used in a week (Jezik et al., 2011).
Rhizo Vital 42 Bacillus Amyloliquefaciens FZB 42
These bacteria exist in close vicinity of the roots. There are
several types of these microorganisms and they are called
Demirkaya et al. / Int. J. Agric. Biol., Vol. 18, No. 3, 2016
rhizosphere microorganisms. The best known example is a
fungus called Mycorrhiza. Another kind is Bacillus
amyloliquefaciens (Kilian and Raupach, 1999). Bacillus
amyloliquefaciens Rhizo Vital 42, which has antimicrobial
activity, can produce a secondary change by high capacity
and it strengthens the plant as a gram-positive bacterium
(Chen et al., 2007). The plant root-colonizing-strain Bacillus
amyloliquefaciens FZB 42 is an environmental strain which
is distinguished from the domesticated model organism
Bacillus subtilis 168 by its ability to stimulate plant growth
and to suppress plant pathogenic organisms (Idriss et al.,
2002). FZB 42 genome analysis revealed the presence of
numerous gene clusters involved in the synthesis of non-
ribosomal synthesized cyclic lipopeptides (Koumoutsi et al.,
2004) and polyketides (Chen et al., 2006; Schneider et al.,
2007) with distinguished antimicrobial action.
The present study was conducted to investigate the
effects of Rhizo vital 42 and effective microorganism
treatments on internal quality of petals and rooting of 5
different snapdragon varieties.
Materials and Methods
Experimental Details and Treatments
Experimental material: Experiments were carried out in
Jedlersdorf in the gardens of the University of Natural
Resources and Life Sciences. Jedlersdorf, which lies at a sea
level of 162 m, has a precipitation of around 550 mm/year
and an average temperature of 9.8°C. The sun shines hours
are 1800 hours/year. The climate is dry, warm and windy
with a yearly average of 3.2 m/s (Jezik et al., 2010). The
experiments consisted of 12 plots and each plot consisted of
5 rows (varieties) with 6 pots (replications). Four plots were
treated with EM, 4 plots with Rhizo Vital 42and 4 plots
were used for monitoring as control without any treatments.
Treatments: To reduce the impacts of the surroundings, a
boundary area of snapdragons (A. majus) was set up. To
suppress weeds, thick black mulching was laid out on the
ground of whole experimental area. At the beginning of
March 2011, 5 different varieties of snapdragon seeds were
sown in viols. The varieties were ‘White Rocket’ (white),
‘Rocket Gold’ (yellow), ‘Orchid’ (purple), ‘Red Stone’
(light-red) and ‘Red Rocket’ (dark-red). Germination took 2
weeks at a temperature of 15 20°C. At the end of March
2011, the seedlings were transplanted to 12 L pots filled
with a compost-sand mixture in the ratio of 1:1 at beginning
of May 2011. Organic fertilizers (EM and Rhizo Vital 42)
were applied to the plant pots at the following doses:
initially a 10 L pitcher was half-filled with tap water, then
10 ml EM was collected with a syringe, injected into the
pitcher and stirred with a wooden stick. Water was added to
fill the pitcher completely to the 10 L mark. Similar
implementations were performed for Rhizo Vital 42, but
this time 40 ml Rhizo vital 42 was injected into 5 L of water
and then completed to 10 L. The prepared mixtures were
applied weekly to each pot in 500 mL doses. Since the
plants were smaller at the beginning of the experiment, the
initial dose was arranged as 250 mL per plant for the first
three treatments (Jezik et al., 2011). Specified doses of EM
and Rhizo Vital 42 were applied weekly until the plant dry
out date of 24th August 2011. As soon as the plants started
blooming, all the closed buds were harvested at a size of
about 2 cm, all the stamina were removed and the plain
petals were stored in a deep freezer at -21°C. Harvesting
was also stopped on 24th August due to dry out of the plants.
The effects of Rhizo vital 42 and EM treatments on
rooting were investigated as well. Plants were cut from the
soil surface and the pots were emptied at the end of August
2011. A scale from 1 to 6 was formed to evaluate the root
development (Table 1). In this way, the effects of treatments
on root development were evaluated.
The root data were statistically analyzed by ANOVA
and correlation analyses. SPSS 13.0 for Windows and LSD
tests were also used for a mean separation.
Then the frozen petals were put in the refrigerator for a
day for defrosting. After that, the photon measurements
were made. For the measurements of the dissipation values,
extracts had to be made with a juice separator (Multi-press
automatic MP 80, BRAUN, Germany). After centrifuging
and filtering, the extracts were ready for the measurements.
Photoluminescence by Single Photon Counting
From a biophysical point of view, electromagnetic
interaction is dominant in biological systems and is
described as thenon-equilibrium thermodynamic
organization of biochemical substance (Feynman, 1985).
Therefore, living systems emit and absorb electromagnetic
fields called photons. This emission of the light fields of
biosystems is known as “biophoton emission“, sometimes
called as ultraweak bioluminescence.
Photoluminescence measurements were performed in
4 replications by using a single photon counting device
(Photomultiplier Hamamatsu R 943-02, high voltage
Tennelec TC 952, amplifier-discriminator HamamatsuC
3866, measuring card Tennelec Nucleus MCS II) developed
at the Atomic Institute of the Technical University in
Vienna Geissler (1999) now at the University of Natural
Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna.
Measuring glasses were filled with 6 g of defrosted
petals, which were radiated with the light of a quicksilver-
high-pressure-lamp (HOL-R delux, 80 watt, OSRAM,
Germany) at a distance of 35 cm for 90 s. Then the samples
were put into the air-tight measuring chamber of the photon
measuring arrangement. All this was executed under a rapid
timetable. The photoluminescence of a sample was
measured for 500 s in 4 replications. The integral photon
emission with its special deviation kinematics was
calculated and drawn by the software Origin Pro 8.0. Finally
the amount of integral photon emission was interpreted with
regard to internal quality: the lower the amount, the higher
Influence of Organic Fertilizers on Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus). / Int. J. Agric. Biol., Vol. 18, No. 3, 2016
the quality.
In order to quantify different deviation kinematics, the
declining curves were fitted by the double exponential
(y = A1.exp (-x/t1) +A2.exp (-x/t2)). (1)
Dissipation Value
The dissipation value is used to interpret the energetic
conditions of plants and can be calculated from pH-value,
electrical conductivity and redox potential (Velimirov,
2003). Therefore, the dissipation value is usually interpreted
as follows: the lower it is the higher the energy potential and
the more suitable it is for human nutrition (Zimmermann,
2003). In other words, smaller dissipation values indicate
better qualities (Hoffmann, 2005). Only 10 mL petal
solution (extract) could be extracted in the present study.
However, about 30 40 mL extract is required for the
measurements. Therefore 20 mL distilled water was added
to complete the extract volume to 30 mL. Then the
electrochemical measurements of these sample solutions
were performed by using the pH-Meter multi 340i from the
WTW Company (Germany). The instrument features three
electrodes, one to measure the redox potential and
temperature (SenTixORP, WTW, Germany), one to
measure the pH value and the temperature (SenTix 41,
WTW, Germany) and one to measure the electrical
conductivity (TetraCon 325, WTW, Germany). The pH
electrode should initially be calibrated with the calibration
solutions for pH values of 4.01 and 7 (by placing into buffer
solutions with these pH values) and the conductivity
electrode should be calibrated by placing in to 0.01 mol HCl
(hydrochloric acid). Before and after the calibrations, the
electrodes were washed with distilled water and dried with
fine paper towels. Then a magnetic stirrer was placed into
each solution sample and placed over a magnetic field.
Redox potential, pH value, electrical conductivity and
temperature were measured simultaneously. The entire
measurement data (180 values) were transferred into Excel.
Then the dissipation values were calculated by using the
following equation. The averages of the first and the last
value of each parameter (pH-value, redox potential,
electrical conductivity and temperature) were used to
calculate the dissipation value. The electrical conductivity
values were converted from μS/cm to mS/cm. Then
following equations was used:
Dissipation value [µW] =Eh2
Eh = measured redox potential + electrodeconstant +
temperature correction factor.
Temperature correction factor = (measured
temperature -25) * (-0.71) Ω= 1 /(R *0.001)
rH value=Eh/constant+ 2 * pH (2)
Where: rH = redox potential based on the pH-value
Ω= electrical resistance
Electrode constant= 207 Constant =29.07 Eh =redox
potential [mV] relative to the potential of the normal
hydrogen electrode R= electrical conductivity [mS/cm]
E=redox potential [mV].
Integral Photon Emission of Photoluminescence
Compared to control treatment, EM treatments reduced
photon emission by 31.25% in Red Rocket, by 19.23% in
Red Stone, by 16.33% in Orchid, 13.00% in White
Rocket and finally by 53.00% in Rocket Gold. Rhizo vital
42 treatments decreased photon emissions by 68.75% in
Red Rocket, 76.92% in Red Stone, 73.33% in Orchid,
77.22% in White Rocket and 69.35% in Rocket Gold
variety. Such findings revealed that Rhizo vital 42
treatments improved petal quality much more than EM
treatments (Fig. 1).
Dissipation Value
Through the application of EM and Rhizo Vital 42, positive
results could be achieved in the varieties ‘Orchid’ and ‘Red
Rocket’. The dissipation values of the petals were
significantly lower than those of the control. In this case, it
is considered that these two varieties have a high energy
potential and therefore have a high quality. In the varieties
‘Golden and ‘Red Stone’, only the Rhizo Vital 42
treatments could decrease the dissipation value of the petals
and hence achieve a better quality. White Rocket could not
be positively influenced by any of the treatments. On the
contrary, the dissipation values of the petals were
significantly higher than those of the control (Table 2).
Compared to the control, EM and Rhizo Vital 42
treatments caused significantly lower dissipation values in
the leaves of all varieties, except White Rocket. This
represents a lower energy potential and consequently a
lower quality for White Rocket and the opposite for the
other varieties. The most positive impacts of EM treatments
on leaves were observed in ‘Red Stone’ with a value of 570
and most positive impacts of Rhizo vital 42 treatments were
observed in ‘Orchid’ with a value of 554. The results
revealed that Rhizo vital 42 has the most positive effects on
the petals and leaves of ‘Orchid’ (Table 3).
Effects of Rhizo Vital 42 and Effective Microorganisms
on Rooting
EM treatments had more positive impacts on root
development than Rhizo Vital 42. The highest increase
in rooting was found in ‘White Rocket’ treated with EM.
However ‘Orchid’ treated with EM and ‘White Rocket’
treated with Rhizo vital 42 also showed a high increase.
Also in Red Rocket’ and Golden treated with EM, the
increase was high. Rhizo Vital 42 could not significantly
increase the root development of ‘Red Rocket’ and
‘Golden’. In ‘Red Stone’, neither of the two treatments
could achieve better rooting (Table 4).
Demirkaya et al. / Int. J. Agric. Biol., Vol. 18, No. 3, 2016
Popp (1991) indicated that biophoton measurements could
be used to assess bioenergetics status and tissues of plants.
The researchers also indicated that the lower the biophoton
emission, the higher the internal quality. Since Rhizo vital
42 and EM treatments decreased biophoton emissions, they
improved internal quality (Fig. 1). Zimmerman (2003)
indicated that the lower the p-dissipation value, the higher
the energy potential will be thus more suitable for human
nutrition. In another study, Hoffmann (2005) indicated
lower P-dissipation values as the indicator of better quality.
Compared to control treatment, Rhizo vital 42 and EM
treatments generally decreased P- dissipation values of the
petals and leaves (Tables 2 and 3). Such findings revealed
the positive impacts of Rhizo Vital 42 and EM treatments
on internal quality parameters.
The impacts of Rhizo vital 42 and EM treatments on
root development were also investigated in this study and
the effects of EM treatments were found to be significant.
Bajwa et al. (1999) reported that EM treatments
increased the effects of vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizal
fungi (VAM) colonization in chick pea (Cicer
arietinum). Increased phosphorus and other nutrient
uptakes through VAM colonization were also reported
by other researchers (Graham and Menge, 1982; Smith
et al., 1992). Kafkas and Ortaş (2009) indicated
increased phosphorus uptakes of Pistacia species with
VAM treatments. Various researchers indicated that
phosphorus uptake improved the rooting (Lynch and
Brown, 2001; Walk et al., 2006). Compared to control
and Rhizo Vital 42 treatments, improved rooting with
EM treatments of the present study supports the
findings of previous studies. There is a certain level of
microbial activity in soil, which is necessary for proper
plant growth. Beside beneficial microorganisms,
however, harmful microorganisms are also present in soils.
Beneficial microorganisms inoculated into soils in order to
remove the harmful ones from the soil and consequently
reduce the stresses exerted on plants, increase internal
quality and positively affect root development. The
present study clearly indicated the positive impacts of
Rhizo Vital 42 and EM treatments on plant root
development and internal quality parameters. However,
such positive impacts strictly depend on plant species,
regional climate conditions, soil conditions,
implementation doses and timing.
Jezik et al. (2011) carried out a research on lettuce
with organic fertilizers and observed 10% yield increase. It
was concluded in this study that Rhizo Vital 42 and
Effective Microorganisms could be used effectively as
organic fertilizers in ornamental plant production. They may
have positive impacts on inner quality parameters but the
effects may vary based on species, varieties and
treatments. Therefore, further research is needed on
implementation doses and timing. Further research is
also recommended to assess the impacts of such organic
fertilizers on common vegetables. Since EM and Rhizo
Vital 42 treatments do not have any proven negative
impacts on soil and human health, further studies with
other plants like vegetables should be conducted for
sustainable agriculture.
The authors acknowledge YOK (The Council of Higher
Table 1: Scale for evaluating effects of Rhizo Vital 42 and
Effective Microorganisms on root development
Scale number
no rooting
little rooting
slightly more rooting
halfway rooted through
lot of rooting
very significant rooting
completely rooted through
Table 2: Effects of treatments on dissipation of petals
Dissipation values [µW]
Rhizo Vital
'Red Rocket' (dark-red)
'Red Stone' (light-red)
'Orchid' (purple)
'White Rocket' (white)
'Golden' (yellow)
Table 3: Effects of treatments on dissipation of leaves
Dissipation values [µW]
Rhizo Vital
'Red Rocket' (dark-red)
'Red Stone' (light-red)
'Orchid' (purple)
'White Rocket' (white)
'Golden' (yellow)
Table 4: Effects of Rhizo Vital 42 and Effective Microorganisms on rooting
'Red Rocket' (dark-red)
'Red Stone' (light-red)
'Orchid' (purple)
'White Rocket' (white)
'Golden' (yellow)
1.58±1.16 bcd
1.14± 0.48d
2.13±0.84 a
Rhizo Vital 42
2.04±0.97 ab
Mean ± standart deviation; Values indicated with different letters are significantly different (P < 0.05)
Influence of Organic Fertilizers on Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus). / Int. J. Agric. Biol., Vol. 18, No. 3, 2016
Education), for the scholarship provided to M. Demirkaya
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Fig. 1: Integral photon emission of photoluminescence of different varieties and treatments: the lower the amount, the
higher the quality
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(Received 01 June 2015; Accepted 26 October 2015)
... Various other researchers also indicated that phosphorus (P) uptakes improved rooting (Lynch and Brown 2001;Walk et al. 2006). Demirkaya et al. (2016) reported that EM treatments increased rooting of snapdragon flowers. It was indicated in some other studies that efficiency of EM treatments varied with the fertilizer sources used. ...
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This study was performed to determine effects of 4 plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (Bacillus subtilis OSU - 142, Bacillus megaterium M - 3, Burkholderia cepacia OSU - 7, and Pseudomonas putida BA - 8) alone and in combinations on fruit set of sour cherry trees (Prunus cerasus L., cv. Kütahya), and to investigate their resulting pomological and chemical characteristics as well as vegetative growth. All the tested bacterial strains alone or some of their combinations have a great potential to increase especially fruit set and plant vegetative growth, and indirectly affect fruit pomological and chemical characteristics. Therefore, they may be considered as biofertilizer for fruit, vegetable, and ornamental plant production in sustainable and ecological agricultural systems.
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Several Bacillus strains belonging to the B. subtilis/amyloliquefaciens group isolated from plant-pathogen-infested soil possess plant-growth-promoting activity [Krebs, B. et al. (1998) J Plant Dis Prot 105, 181-197]. Three out of the four strains investigated were identified as B. amyloliquefaciens and were able to degrade extracellular phytate (myo-inositol hexakisphosphate). The highest extracellular phytase activity was detected in strain FZB45, and diluted culture filtrates of this strain stimulated growth of maize seedlings under phosphate limitation in the presence of phytate. The amino acid sequence deduced from the phytase phyA gene cloned from FZB45 displayed a high degree of similarity to known Bacillus phytases. Weak similarity between FZB45 phytase and B. subtilis alkaline phosphatase IV pointed to a possible common origin of these two enzymes. The recombinant protein expressed by B. subtilis MU331 displayed 3(1)-phytase activity yielding D/L-Ins(1,2,4,5,6)P5 as the first product of phytate hydrolysis. A phytase-negative mutant strain, FZB45/M2, whose phyA gene is disrupted, was generated by replacing the entire wild-type gene on the chromosome of FZB45 with a km::phyA fragment, and culture filtrates obtained from FZB45/M2 did not stimulate plant growth. In addition, the growth of maize seedlings was promoted in the presence of purified phytase and the absence of culture filtrate. These genetic and biochemical experiments provide strong evidence that phytase activity of B. amyloliquefaciens FZB45 is important for plant growth stimulation under phosphate limitation.
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The environmental strain Bacillus amyloliquefaciens FZB42 promotes plant growth and suppresses plant pathogenic organisms present in the rhizosphere. We sampled sequenced the genome of FZB42 and identified 2,947 genes with >50% identity on the amino acid level to the corresponding genes of Bacillus subtilis 168. Six large gene clusters encoding nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS) and polyketide synthases (PKS) occupied 7.5% of the whole genome. Two of the PKS and one of the NRPS encoding gene clusters were unique insertions in the FZB42 genome and are not present in B. subtilis 168. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry analysis revealed expression of the antibiotic lipopeptide products surfactin, fengycin, and bacillomycin D. The fengycin (fen) and the surfactin (srf) operons were organized and located as in B. subtilis 168. A large 37.2-kb antibiotic DNA island containing the bmy gene cluster was attributed to the biosynthesis of bacillomycin D. The bmy island was found inserted close to the fen operon. The responsibility of the bmy, fen, and srf gene clusters for the production of the corresponding secondary metabolites was demonstrated by cassette mutagenesis, which led to the loss of the ability to produce these peptides. Although these single mutants still largely retained their ability to control fungal spread, a double mutant lacking both bacillomycin D and fengycin was heavily impaired in its ability to inhibit growth of phytopathogenic fungi, suggesting that both lipopeptides act in a synergistic manner.
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Although bacterial polyketides are of considerable biomedical interest, the molecular biology of polyketide biosynthesis in Bacillus spp., one of the richest bacterial sources of bioactive natural products, remains largely unexplored. Here we assign for the first time complete polyketide synthase (PKS) gene clusters to Bacillus antibiotics. Three giant modular PKS systems of the trans-acyltransferase type were identified in Bacillus amyloliquefaciens FZB 42. One of them, pks1, is an ortholog of the pksX operon with a previously unknown function in the sequenced model strain Bacillus subtilis 168, while the pks2 and pks3 clusters are novel gene clusters. Cassette mutagenesis combined with advanced mass spectrometric techniques such as matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry revealed that the pks1 (bae) and pks3 (dif) gene clusters encode the biosynthesis of the polyene antibiotics bacillaene and difficidin or oxydifficidin, respectively. In addition, B. subtilis OKB105 (pheA sfp0), a transformant of the B. subtilis 168 derivative JH642, was shown to produce bacillaene, demonstrating that the pksX gene cluster directs the synthesis of that polyketide.
Low phosphorus availability is a primary constraint to plant productivity in many natural and agricultural ecosystems. Plants display a wide array of adaptive responses to low phosphorus availability that generally serve to enhance phosphorus mobility in the soil and increase its uptake. One set of adaptive responses is the alteration of root architecture to increase phosphorus acquisition from the soil at minimum metabolic cost. In a series of studies with the common bean, work in our laboratory has shown that architectural traits that enhance topsoil foraging appear to be particularly important for genotypic adaptation to low phosphorus soils (`phosphorus efficiency'). In particular, the gravitropic trajectory of basal roots, adventitious rooting, the dispersion of lateral roots, and the plasticity of these processes in response to phosphorus availability contribute to phosphorus efficiency in this species. These traits enhance the exploration and exploitation of shallow soil horizons, where phosphorus availability is greatest in many soils. Studies with computer models of root architecture show that root systems with enhanced topsoil foraging acquire phosphorus more efficiently than others of equivalent size. Comparisons of contrasting genotypes in controlled environments and in the field show that plants with better topsoil foraging have superior phosphorus acquisition and growth in low phosphorus soils. It appears that many architectural responses to phosphorus stress may be mediated by the plant hormone ethylene. Genetic mapping of these traits shows that they are quantitatively inherited but can be tagged with QTLs that can be used in plant breeding programs. New crop genotypes incorporating these traits have substantially improved yield in low phosphorus soils, and are being deployed in Africa and Latin America.
This article summarises the way in which mycorrhizal infection of roots affects the mineral nutrition of plants and how the symbiosis may interact with the evaluation of efficiency of nutrient uptake and use by plants. A brief account of the processes of infection and the way they are affected by host genotype and environmental conditions is given and the relationships between this and mineral nutrition (especially phosphate nutrition) are outlined. The interactions between mycorrhizal infection and P efficiency are considered at two levels. Mycorrhizas may act as general modifiers of efficiency regardless of the extent to which the plants are infected and in some mycorrhiza-dependent plants infection may change the ranking of genotypes. The extent of infection is also under genetic control and shows considerable variability between genotypes in some species. This variation could be used in programs to select varieties in which infection is rapid and nutrient uptake from nutrient deficient or low input systems is, in consequence, increased.
Adventitious rooting contributes to efficient phosphorus acquisition by enhancing topsoil foraging. However, metabolic investment in adventitious roots may retard the development of other root classes such as basal roots, which are also important for phosphorus acquisition. In this study we quantitatively assessed the potential effects of adventitious rooting on basal root growth and whole plant phosphorus acquisition in young bean plants. The geometric simulation model SimRoot was used to dynamically model root systems with varying architecture and C availability growing for 21 days at 3 planting depths in 3 soil types with contrasting nutrient mobility. Simulated root architectures, tradeoffs between adventitious and basal root growth, and phosphorus acquisition were validated with empirical measurements. Phosphorus acquisition and phosphorus acquisition efficiency (defined as mol phosphorus acquired per mol C allocated to roots) were estimated for plants growing in soil in which phosphorus availability was uniform with depth or was greatest in the topsoil, as occurs in most natural soils. Phosphorus acquisition and acquisition efficiency increased with increasing allocation to adventitious roots in stratified soil, due to increased phosphorus depletion of surface soil. In uniform soil, increased adventitious rooting decreased phosphorus acquisition by reducing the growth of lateral roots arising from the tap root and basal roots. The benefit of adventitious roots for phosphorus acquisition was dependent on the specific respiration rate of adventitious roots as well as on whether overall C allocation to root growth was increased, as occurs in plants under phosphorus stress, or was lower, as observed in unstressed plants. In stratified soil, adventitious rooting reduced the growth of tap and basal lateral roots, yet phosphorus acquisition increased by up to 10% when total C allocation to roots was high and adventitious root respiration was similar to that in basal roots. With C allocation to roots decreased by 38%, adventitious roots still increased phosphorus acquisition by 5%. Allocation to adventitious roots enhanced phosphorus acquisition and efficiency as long as the specific respiration of adventitious roots was similar to that of basal roots and less than twice that of tap roots. When adventitious roots were assigned greater specific respiration rates, increased adventitious rooting reduced phosphorus acquisition and efficiency by diverting carbohydrate from other root types. Varying the phosphorus diffusion coefficient to reflect varying mobilities in different soil types had little effect on the value of adventitious rooting for phosphorus acquisition. Adventitious roots benefited plants regardless of basal root growth angle. Seed planting depth only affected phosphorus uptake and efficiency when seed was planted below the high phosphorus surface stratum. Our results confirm the importance of root respiration in nutrient foraging strategies, and demonstrate functional tradeoffs among distinct components of the root system. These results will be useful in developing ideotypes for more nutrient efficient crops.