An aseptic vacuum extraction technique was used to obtain xylem fluid from the roots of rough lemon (Citrus jambhiri Lush.) rootstock of Florida citrus trees. Bacteria were consistently isolated from vascular fluid of both healthy and young tree decline-affected trees. Thirteen genera of bacteria were found, the most frequently occurring genera being Pseudomonas (40%), Enterobacter (18%), Bacillus, Corynebacterium, and other gram-positive bacteria (16%), and Serratia (6%). Xylem bacterial counts fluctuated seasonally. Bacterial populations ranged from 0.1 to 22 per mm3 of root tissue (about 102 to 2 × 104 bacteria per g of xylem) when bacterial counts were made on vascular fluid, but these numbers were 10- to 1,000-fold greater when aseptically homogenized xylem tissue was examined similarly. Some of the resident bacteria (4%) are potentially phytopathogenic. It is proposed that xylem bacteria have an important role in the physiology of citrus
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