Endophytic bacteria were isolated from surface-sterilized stems, seeds, and leaf sheaths of wild and traditionally cultivated rice varieties. Phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rDNA revealed a wide divergence among the isolates. However, the most frequently isolated groups were Methylobacterium sp. in the α-subdivision of Proteobacteria, and Curtobacterium sp. in the high G+ C Gram-positive group. Various phenotypic traits that are expected to be involved in the persistence and functions of the bacteria were analyzed: Most of the isolates from rice excreted pectinase, were motile, and showed an osmotic resistance to 0.6 M sucrose. These traits may be involved in endophytic characteristics in rice. About 50% of the isolates showed a cellulase activity. A few isolates fixed nitrogen, produced indole-3-acetic acid, and formed capsules. These activities were partially correlated with the phylogenetic group.
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