The bacterial epiphyte Pseudomonas syringae MF714R was cultured on agar or in broth or collected from colonized leaves; it was then inoculated onto greenhouse-grown bean plants incubated in a growth chamber at low relative humidity or in the field or onto field-grown bean plants. Cells cultured in liquid medium survived the least well after inoculation of leaf surfaces under all conditions. Cells cultured in solid medium exhibited the highest percent survival and desiccation tolerance in the growth chamber but generally survived less well in the field than did cells harvested from plants. Cells harvested from plants and inoculated onto plants in the field usually exhibited the highest percent survival, started to increase in population earlier, and reached a higher number than did cells cultured in vitro. Differences in field survival were apparently not attributable to differential UV tolerance. The observed effects of phenotypic plasticity on epiphytic survival and colonization should be considered in risk assessment studies, in studies of bacterial epidemiology, and in the use of microbial antagonists for biological pest control
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