Extraction and Purification of Pasteuria spp. Endospores

S. Y. Chen, J. Charnecki, J. F. Preston, D. W. Dickson


Pasteuria penetrans is an endospore-forming bacterial parasite of root-knot nematodes that has potential as a biological control agent. Biochemical investigations of P. penetrans are limited because of difficulty in obtaining large quantities of endospores free of plant debris and contaminating microorganisms. Our objective was to develop a technique for extraction and purification of P. penetrans endospores from root-knot nematodes. Tomato roots infected with Meloidogyne arenaria that was parasitized by P. penetrans were digested with cytolase. The nematode females along with plant debris were washed with a jet stream of water onto an 800-µm-pore sieve nested on a 250-µm-pore sieve. The materials retained on the 250-µm-pore sieve were centrifuged through a 20% sucrose solution. The resulting loose pellet fraction was collected on a 250-µm-pore sieve and then centrifuged through a 47% sucrose solution. Endospore-filled females were handpicked from the 47% sucrose pellicle fraction. Endospores were released by grinding the females with a glass tissue grinder. The endospores were then filtered through a nylon filter with 8-µm openings, collected by centrifugation, and subjected to buoyant density centrifugation in different media. Further purification by buoyant density centrifugation in a linear gradient of sodium diatrizoate resulted in a preparation of endospores free of debris. This additional step may be desirable for the further characterization of components unique to the endospores.


bacterium; biological control; endospore; extraction; meloidogyne spp.; nematode; pasteuria penetrans; purification; root-knot nematode; sodium diatrizoate

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