Prevalence of plant beneficial and human pathogenic bacteria isolated from salad vegetables in India.
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The study aimed at enumerating, identifying and categorizing the endophytic cultivable bacterial community in selected salad vegetables (carrot, cucumber, tomato and onion). Vegetable samples were collected from markets of two vegetable hot spot growing areas, during two different crop harvest seasons. Crude and diluted vegetable extracts were plated and the population of endophytic bacteria was assessed based on morphologically distinguishable colonies. The bacterial isolates were identified by growth in selective media, biochemical tests and 16S rRNA gene sequencing.
The endophytic population was found to be comparably higher in cucumber and tomato in both of the sampling locations, whereas lower in carrot and onion. Bacterial isolates belonged to 5 classes covering 46 distinct species belonging to 19 genera. Human opportunistic pathogens were predominant in carrot and onion, whereas plant beneficial bacteria dominated in cucumber and tomato. Out of the 104 isolates, 16.25% are human pathogens and 26.5% are human opportunistic pathogens.
Existence of a high population of plant beneficial bacteria was found to have suppressed the population of plant and human pathogens. There is a greater potential to study the native endophytic plant beneficial bacteria for developing them as biocontrol agents against human pathogens that are harboured by plants.