Endophytic bacteria and fungi were isolated from healthy maize plants collected in a field in Devon. The average bacterial counts in the stem core tissues showed that the plant parts closer to the soil were more heavily colonized by bacteria than those near the top of the plants, and that the lower and middle part of the stems hosted the most frequently isolated bacterial species. Of the fungal species isolated, 12 had a relative importance of more than 10o m the core, 15 in the epidermis, and only 5 in the leaves. In general the distribution patterns were different among the three tissue types studied, with core and epidermis of the stems showing almost equal colonization frequencies and the leaves being most heavily colonized. More fungal species were recovered from the core and epidermis of the stem than from the leaves. The fungi most frequently isolated showed some patterns of tissue specificity, with Alternaria alternata almost exclusively associated with the leaves and Aureobasidium pulhilans var. melanigerum most often present in the epidermal tissues. Assays showed low fungal colonization of seeds taken from freshly matured cobs and of seeds dried for 8 wk before testing, in contrast to higher colonization frequencies observed for the seeds used for planting. The mean values for fungal isolations in the stem pieces mostly in contact with the soil flora or close to the ground were lower than those of the more centrally placed sections. These areas of low fungal infection yielded the highest bacteriai counts. The potential role of bacterial endophytes in biological control is briefly discussed.
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