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On the use of antibiotics to reduce rhizoplane microbial populations in root physiology and ecology investigationsNo straightforward method exists for separating the proportion of ion exchange and respiration due to rhizoplane microbial organisms from that of root ion exchange and respiration. We examined several antibiotics that might be used for the temporary elimination of rhizoplane bacteria from hydroponically grown wheat roots (Triticum aestivum cv. Veery 10). Each antibiotic was tested for herbicidal activity and plate counts were used to enumerate bacteria and evaluate antibiotic kinetics. Only lactam antibiotics (penicillins and cephalosporins) did not reduce wheat growth rates. Aminoglycosides, the pyrimidine trimethoprim, colistin and rifampicin reduced growth rates substantially. Antibiotics acted slowly, with maximum reductions in rhizoplane bacteria occurring after more than 48 h of exposure. Combinations of nonphytotoxic antibiotics reduced platable rhizoplane bacteria by as much as 98%; however, this was generally a reduction from about 10(9) to 10(6) colony forming units per gram of dry root mass, so that many viable bacteria remained on root surfaces. We present evidence which suggests that insufficient bacterial biomass exists on root surfaces of nonstressed plants grown under well-aerated conditions to quantitatively interfere with root nitrogen absorption measurements.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Smart, D. R. (Univ. Autonoma de Barcelona Spain)
Ferro, A.
Ritchie, K.
Bugbee, B. G.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1995
Publication Information
Publication: Physiologia plantarum
Volume: 95
ISSN: 0031-9317
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Life Support Systems
Non-NASA Center