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Ultrastructure, Morphology, and Sporogenesis of Pasteuria penetrans

March 1997 , Volume 87 , Number  3
Pages  273 - 283

Z. X. Chen , D. W. Dickson , L. G. Freitas , and J. F. Preston

First and second authors: Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611-0620; third author: Plant Pathology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611-0680; fourth author: Microbiology and Cell Science Department, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611-0700

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Accepted for publication 22 November 1996.

Pasteuria penetrans is a bacterial parasite of root-knot nematodes that shows great potential as a biocontrol agent. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy were used to study the ultrastructure, morphology, and sporogenesis of four isolates of P. penetrans. The effects of different Meloidogyne spp. and tobacco cultivars on sporangium size and morphology of endospores attached to the cuticle of second-stage juveniles (J2) of root-knot nematodes also were investigated. The P. penetrans isolates and their origins were P-20 from M. arenaria race 1 in Levy County, FL; P-100 from Meloidogyne sp. in Pasco County, FL; B-4 from Pratylenchus scribneri in Seminole County, FL; and P-120 from Meloidogyne spp. in Alachua County, FL. Sporangia of the four isolates were identical morphologically and similar in their dimensions, ranging from 2.39 to 3.42 μm in diameter and from 1.38 to 2.38 μm in height. Different Meloidogyne spp. and tobacco cultivars had no effect on sporangium size. Endospores attached to J2 were visualized in three forms: endospores retaining the sporangium wall, endospores covered with a thin exosporium, and endospores without covering. Sporogenesis of P. penetrans was similar to that of other gram-positive bacteria and generally matched the seven-stage scheme reported for Bacillus thuringiensis.

© 1997 The American Phytopathological Society