Format of Original
American Society for Microbiology
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Original Item ID
PubMed Central, PMCID: PMC201804
Crude bean root extracts of Phaseolus vulgaris were tested for inhibition of the growth of several polysaccharide mutants of Rhizobium etli biovar phaseoli CE3. Mutants deficient only in exopolysaccharide and some mutants deficient only in the O-antigen of the lipopolysaccharide were no more sensitive than the wild-type strain to the extracts, whereas mutants defective in both lipopolysaccharide and exopolysaccharide were much more sensitive. The inhibitory activity was found at much higher levels in roots and nodules than in stems or leaves. Inoculation with either wild-type or polysaccharide-deficient R. etli did not appear to affect the level of activity. Sequential extractions of the crude root material with petroleum ether, ethyl acetate, methanol, and water partitioned inhibitory activity into each solvent except methanol. The major inhibitors in the petroleum ether and ethyl acetate extracts were purified by C18 high-performance liquid chromatography. These compounds all migrated very similarly in both liquid and thin-layer chromatography but were distinguished by their mass spectra. Absorbance spectra and fluorescence properties suggested that they were coumestans, one of which had the mass spectrum and nuclear magnetic resonances of coumestrol. These results are discussed with regard to the hypothesis that one role of rhizobial polysaccharides is to protect against plant toxins encountered during nodule development.