Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2005

Paenibacillus polymyxa invades plant roots and forms biofilms

Timmusk, Salme; Grantcharova, Nina; Wagner, Gerhart


Paenibacillus polymyxa is a plant growth-promoting rhizobacterium with a broad host range, but so far the use of this organism as a biocontrol agent has not been very efficient. In previous work we showed that this bacterium protects Arabidopsis thaliana against pathogens and abiotic stress. Here, we studied colonization of plant roots by a natural isolate of A polymyxa which had been tagged with a plasmid-borne gfp gene. Fluorescence microscopy and electron scanning microscopy indicated that the bacteria colonized predominantly the root tip, where they formed biofilms. Accumulation of bacteria was observed in the intercellular spaces outside the vascular cylinder. Systemic spreading did not occur, as indicated by the absence of bacteria in aerial tissues. Studies were performed in both a gnotobiotic system and a soil system. The fact that similar observations were made in both systems suggests that colonization by this bacterium can be studied in a more defined system. Problems associated with green fluorescent protein tagging of natural isolates and deleterious effects of the plant growth-promoting bacteria are discussed.

Published in

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
2005, Volume: 71, number: 11, pages: 7292-7300

    SLU Authors

      • Wagner, Gerhart

        • Uppsala University

      UKÄ Subject classification


      Publication Identifiers


      Permanent link to this page (URI)