Endophytic bacteria live inside plant tissues without caus-ing disease. Studies of endophytes in sugarcane have focused on the iso-lation of diazotrophic bacteria. We examined the diversity of endophytic bacteria in the internal tissues of sugarcane stems and leaves, using mo-lecular and biochemical methods. Potato-agar medium was used to cul-tivate the endophytes; 32 isolates were selected for analysis. DNA was extracted and the 16S rRNA gene was partially sequenced and used for molecular identification. Gram staining, catalase and oxidase tests, and the API-20E system were used to characterize the isolates. The strains were divided into five groups, based on the 16S rRNA sequences. Group I comprised 14 representatives of the Enterobacteriaceae; group II was composed of Bacilli; group III contained one representative, Curtobac-terium sp; group IV contained representatives of the Pseudomonadaceae family, and group V had one isolate with an uncultured bacterium. Four isolates were able to reduce acetylene to ethylene. Most of the bacteria isolated from the sugarcane stem and leaf tissues belonged to Entero-bacteriaceae and Pseudomonaceae, respectively, demonstrating niche specificity. Overall, we found the endophytic bacteria in sugarcane to be 251 ©FUNPEC-RP www.funpecrp.com.br Genetics and Molecular Research 9 (1): 250-258 (2010) Microbial diversity in sugarcane more diverse than previously reported.
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