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Endophytic bacterial effects on seed germination and mobilization of reserves in Ammodendron biofolium

Yan-Lei Zhu, Xiao-Ping She, Jian-She Wang and Hai-Ying Lv

The main aim of this study was to analyze the mobilization of storage reserves during seed germination of Ammodendron bifolium by host plant-endophytic bacteria interaction and to determine the contribution of endophytic bacteria in plant establishment. The seeds were inoculated with three different endophytic bacteria from A. bifolium, Staphylococcus sp. AY3, Kocuria sp. AY9 and Bacillus sp. AG18, and they were germinated in the dark. Fresh weight changes and early seedling growth were assessed, and the content of storage compounds was quantified using biochemical assays in all germinated and non-germinated seeds. To understand the mechanism promoting seed germination, the activities of extracellular enzymes of bacterial isolates were also analyzed by the plate assay method. The results showed that treatment with endophytic bacteria accelerated seed germination; promoted further water absorption and radicle growth; and also promoted degradation of sucrose, protein and lipids during the germination process. At the same time, our results also showed that strain AG18 was able to produce protease and amylase, strain AY9 had only amylase activity, and strain AY3 had no extracellular enzyme activity. In summary, our current study showed that (i) endophytic bacteria improved seed germination and post-germination seedling growth of A. bifolium; (ii) inoculation with endophytic bacteria could promote storage reserve mobilization during or following germination; (iii) the degradation of protein, lipids and sucrose could provide essential energy for post-germination growth; and (iv) three bacterial isolates might have different action mechanisms on seed germination. 

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