Are Leaf Glandular Trichomes of Oregano Hospitable Habitats for Bacterial Growth?
AuthorKaramanoli, K.; Thalassinos, G.; Karpouzas, D.; Bosabalidis, A. M.; Vokou, D.; Constantinidou, H. I.
Phyllospheric bacteria were isolated from microsites around essential-oil-containing glands of two oregano (Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum) lines. These bacteria, 20 isolates in total, were subjected to bioassays to examine their growth potential in the presence of essential oils at different concentrations. Although there were qualitative and quantitative differences in the essential oil composition between the two oregano lines, no differences were recorded in their antibacterial activity. In disk diffusion bioassays, four of the isolated strains could grow almost unrestrained in the presence of oregano oil, another five proved very sensitive, and the remaining 11 showed intermediate sensitivity. The strain least inhibited by oregano essential oil was further identified by complete16s rRNA gene sequencing as Pseudomonas putida. It was capable of forming biofilms even in the presence of oregano oil at high concentrations. Resistance of P. putida to oregano oil was further elaborated by microwell dilution bioassays, and its topology on oregano leaves was studied by electron microscopy. When inoculated on intact oregano plants, P. putida was able not only to colonize sites adjacent to essential oil-containing glands, but even to grow intracellularly. This is the first time that such prolific bacterial growth inside the glands has been visually observed. Results of this study further revealed that several bacteria can be established on oregano leaves, suggesting that these bacteria have attributes that allow them to tolerate or benefit from oregano secondary metabolites.