Use of an exotic carbon source to selectively increase metabolic activity and growth of Pseudomonas putida in soil Academic Article uri icon


  • Respiration and growth of Pseudomonas putida PpG7, containing catabolic plasmid NAH7, was determined in three agricultural field soils amended with the carbon source salicylate. The addition of salicylate to soil significantly increased the population of PpG7. However, there was a lack of relationship between microbial numbers and activity as determined by evolution of CO2. In soils containing 30 to 1,500 g of salicylate per g, metabolic activities of PpG7 peaked between 18 and 42 h and population densities increased approximately 101- to 105-fold. However, the metabolic activity of PpG7 rapidly declined after salicylate was utilized, whereas peak population densities were maintained for the duration of the experiments (5 to 7 days). Thus, elevated population densities of PpG7 were represented by inactive cells. Soil type had only minor effects on respiration rates or growth curves of PpG7 when amended with comparable concentrations of salicylate. Respiration and growth rates were optimal at concentrations between 300 and 1,000 g of salicylate per g in the test soils. At 1,500 to 2,500 g/g, respiration and growth of PpG7 were initially suppressed, but after a short lag time both attained levels similar to or greater than those resulting from the use of lower concentrations of salicylate. The culturing of PpG7 on a salicylate-amended medium to induce salicylate-degradative enzymes did not affect the lag time before utilization of salicylate in soil. Although PpG7 competed well with fungi for the substrate, suppression of fungal populations with cycloheximide resulted in significantly increased population densities of PpG7 in two of three soils amended with salicylate. The beneficial activities of bacteria in soil are discussed in relation to population density, population metabolic activity, and selective carbon source utilization.

published proceedings

  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology

author list (cited authors)

  • Colbert, S. F., Isakeit, T., Ferri, M., Weinhold, A. R., Hendson, M., & Schroth, M. N.

complete list of authors

  • Colbert, SF||Isakeit, T||Ferri, M||Weinhold, AR||Hendson, M||Schroth, MN

publication date

  • January 1993