THE EFFECT OF DIFFERENT GROWTH REGIMES ON THE ENDOPHYTIC BACTERIAL COMMUNITIES OF THE FERN, Dicksonia sellowiana HOOK (DICKSONIACEAE)
Endophytic bacteria associated with the fern Dicksonia sellowiana were investigated. The bacterial communities from the surface-sterilized pinnae and rachis segments of the plants from the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest that grew in native field conditions were compared with the bacterial communities from plants grown in greenhouses and plants that were initially grown in greenhouses and then transferred to the forest. From 540 pinnae and 540 rachis segments, 163 (30.2%) and 346 (64.2%) were colonized by bacteria, respectively. The main bacterial genera and species that were isolated included Bacillus spp. (B. cereus, B. megaterium, B. pumilus and B. subtilis), Paenibacillus sp., Amphibacillus sp., Gracilibacillus sp., Micrococcus sp. and Stenotrophomonas spp. (S. maltophilia and S. nitroreducens). B. pumilus was the most frequently isolated bacterial species. Amphibacillus and Gracilibacillus were reported as endophytes for the first time. Other commonly found bacterial genera were not observed in D. sellowiana, which may reflect preferences of specific bacterial communities inside this fern or detection limitations due to the isolation procedures. Plants that were grown in greenhouses and plants that were reintroduced into the forest displayed more bacterial genera and species diversity than native field plants, suggesting that reintroduction shifts the bacterial diversity. Endophytic bacteria that displayed antagonistic properties against different microorganisms were detected, but no obvious correlation was found between their frequencies with plant tissues or with plants from different growth regimes. This paper reports the first isolation of endophytic bacteria from a fern.