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Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, one of the most important component of the soil microbial community, establish physical interactions with naturally occurring and genetically modified bacterial biofertilizers and biopesticides, commonly referred to as plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). We have used a genetic approach to investigate the bacterial components possibly involved in the attachment of two PGPR (Azospirillum and Rhizobium) to AM roots and AM fungal structures. Mutants affected in extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) have been tested in in vitro adhesion assays and shown to be strongly impaired in the attachment to both types of surfaces as well as to quartz fibers. Anchoring of rhizobacteria to AM fungal structures may have special ecological and biotechnological significance because it may facilitate colonisation of new rhizospheres by the bacteria, and may be an essential trait for the development of mixed inocula.
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