Interspecific cooperation: enhanced growth, attachment and strain-specific distribution in biofilms throughAzospirillum brasilense-Pseudomonas protegensco-cultivation

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Abstract

Plant-growth-promoting bacteria belonging to Azospirillum and Pseudomonas genera are major inhabitants of the rhizosphere. Both are increasingly commercialized as crops inoculants. Interspecific interaction in the rhizosphere is critical for inoculants aptness. The objective of this work was to evaluate Azospirillum and Pseudomonas interaction in mixed biofilms by co-cultivation of the model strains Azospirillum brasilense Sp245 and Pseudomonas protegens CHA0. The results revealed enhanced growth of both strains when co-cultured in static conditions. Moreover, Sp245 biofilm formed in plastic surfaces was increased 2-fold in the presence of CHA0. Confocal microscopy revealed highly structured mixed biofilms showing Sp245 mainly on the bottom and CHA0 towards the biofilm surface. In addition, A. brasilense biofilm was thicker and denser when co-cultured with P. protegens. In a colony–colony interaction assay, Sp245 changed nearby CHA0 producing small colony phenotype, which accounts for a diffusible metabolite mediator; though CHA0 spent medium did not affect Sp245 colony phenotype. Altogether, these results point to a cooperative interaction between A. brasilense Sp245 and P. protegens CHA0 in which both strains increase their static growth and produce structured mixed biofilms with a strain-specific distribution.

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