Importance of organosulfur utilization for survival of Pseudomonas putida in soil and rhizosphere

Michael Kertesz, Pascal Mirleau, Roy Wogelius, Andrew Smith, Michael A. Kertesz

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    The sulfur present in both agricultural and uncultivated soils is largely in the form of sulfonates and sulfate esters and not as free, bioavailable inorganic sulfate. Desulfurization of the former compounds in vitro has previously been studied in Pseudomonas putida, a common rhizosphere inhabitant. Survival of P. putida strains was now investigated in three sulfur-deficient Danish soils which were found to contain 60 to 70% of their sulfur in sulfonate or sulfate ester form, as determined by X-ray near-edge spectroscopy. The soil fitness of P. putida S-313 was compared with that of isogenic strains with mutations in the sftR and asfA genes (required for in vitro desulfurization of sulfate esters and arylsulfonates, respectively) and in the ssu locus (required in vitro for the desulfurization of both sulfonates and sulfate esters). asfA or sftR mutants showed significantly reduced survival compared to the parent strain in bulk soil that had been enriched with carbon and nitrogen to mimic rhizosphere conditions, but this reduced survival was not observed in the absence of these additives. In a tomato rhizosphere grown in compost, survival of sftR and ssu mutants was reduced relative to the parent strain. The results demonstrate that the ability to desulfurize sulfonates and sulfate esters is critical for survival of bacteria in the rhizosphere but less so in bulk soils outside the influence of plant roots, where carbon is the limiting nutrient for growth. Copyright © 2005, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6571-6577
    Number of pages6
    JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


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