The ecological role of bacterial seed endophytes associated with wild cabbage in the United Kingdom

Olaf Tyc*, Rocky Putra, Rieta Gols, Jeffrey A. Harvey, Paolina Garbeva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Endophytic bacteria are known for their ability in promoting plant growth and defense against biotic and abiotic stress. However, very little is known about the microbial endophytes living in the spermosphere. Here, we isolated bacteria from the seeds of five different populations of wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea L) that grow within 15 km of each other along the Dorset coast in the UK. The seeds of each plant population contained a unique microbiome. Sequencing of the 16S rRNA genes revealed that these bacteria belong to three different phyla (Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria). Isolated endophytic bacteria were grown in monocultures or mixtures and the effects of bacterial volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on the growth and development on B. oleracea and on resistance against a insect herbivore was evaluated. Our results reveal that the VOCs emitted by the endophytic bacteria had a profound effect on plant development but only a minor effect on resistance against an herbivore of B. oleracea. Plants exposed to bacterial VOCs showed faster seed germination and seedling development. Furthermore, seed endophytic bacteria exhibited activity via volatiles against the plant pathogen F. culmorum. Hence, our results illustrate the ecological importance of the bacterial seed microbiome for host plant health and development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00954
Issue number1
Early online date13 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • bacteria
  • endophytes
  • fungal pathogens
  • insect herbivory
  • plant growth
  • plant resistance
  • plant-insect interactions
  • seed germination


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