The economic impact of seedborne bacterial diseases on rice production provides a major motivation for research on seed health. This paper reports on the endophytic growth of a rifampicin-marked strain of the seedborne rice pathogen Pseudomonas fuscovaginae. The bacterium was found in most tested seeds indicating that, even without visible discolouration, seed transmission is possible. Crushed discoloured seeds contained more bacterial cells than did non-crushed discoloured seeds. These bacteria were released during seed soaking, contaminating clean seed and lowering seed germination. Cells of a rifampicin-resistant strain of P. fuscovaginae, which had been inoculated onto rice seeds, were subsequently recovered from different growth stages and from different rice tissues, thereby indicating endophytic colonization. These results have implications for seedling establishment, as symptomless seeds do not assure disease-free seeds, and the presence of seedborne bacteria results in poor germination and poor seedling establishment. Elimination of seedborne bacteria by soaking in sodium hypochlorite can increase seed germination. This could be used in developing control strategies, and, if practised regularly, reduce entry of seedborne disease-causing organisms into crops, resulting in lower disease pressure.
Adorada, D., Stodart, B., Pangga, I. B., & Ash, G. (2015). Implications of bacterial contaminated seed lots and endophytic colonization by Pseudomonas fuscovaginae on rice establishment. Plant Pathology, 64(1), 43-50. https://doi.org/10.1111/ppa.12243