Conjugal gene transfer among bacteria in the residuesphere (area between decaying plant material and soil) of leaves of barley straw was studied. The residuesphere was shown to be a hot-spot for conjugal gene transfer compared to conjugation in sterile sand and non-sterile bulk soil. Impact of fungal colonisation of the residuesphere on bacterial colonisation and conjugation was also investigated. The inhibition of fungal colonisation, due to the application of an eukaryotic inhibitor, increased bacterial colonisation of the residuesphere in soil microcosms compared to non-treated leaves. This treatment also had a transient, positive effect on conjugation. Bacterial conjugation in the residuesphere of leaves subjected to 17 days of fungal colonisation was significantly lower than in the residuesphere of non-colonised leaves. Fungal biomass, as measured by chitinase activity, was inversely related to the conjugation efficiency. [KEYWORDS: soil microcosm; gene transfer; microbial colonisation; litter; Pseudomonas putida Gene-transfer; pseudomonas-putida; tol plasmid; soil; rhizosphere]
Original languageEnglish
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Journal publication date2000

ID: 158916