Pantoea agglomerans: a mysterious bacterium of evil and good. Part IV. Beneficial effects

Jacek Dutkiewicz 1  ,  
Marcin Golec 1,  
Department of Biological Health Hazards and Parasitology, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Department of Pneumonology, Oncology and Allergology, Medical University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland
Department of Medical Biology, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2016;23(2):206–222
Pantoea agglomerans, a gammaproteobacterium of plant origin, possesses many beneficial traits that could be used for the prevention and/or treatment of human and animal diseases, combating plant pathogens, promotion of plant growth and bioremediation of the environment. It produces a number of antibiotics (herbicolin, pantocins, microcin, agglomerins, andrimid, phenazine, among others) which could be used for combating plant, animal and human pathogens or for food preservation. Japanese researchers have demonstrated that the low-molecular-mass lipopolysaccharide of P. agglomerans isolated by them and described as ‘Immunopotentiator from Pantoea agglomerans 1 (IP-PA1)’ reveals the extremely wide spectrum of healing properties, mainly due to its ability for the maintenance of homeostasis by macrophage activation. IP-PA1 was proved to be effective in the prevention and treatment of a broad range of human and animal disorders, such as tumours, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, ulcer, various infectious diseases, atopic allergy and stress-induced immunosuppression; it also showed a strong analgesic effect. It is important that most of these effects could be achieved by the safe oral administration of IP-PA1. Taking into account that P. agglomerans occurs commonly as a symbiont of many species of insects, including mosquitoes transmitting the Plasmodium parasites causing malaria, successful attempts were made to apply the strategy of paratransgenesis, in which bacterial symbionts are genetically engineered to express and secrete anti-Plasmodium effector proteins. This strategy shows prospects for a successful eradication of malaria, a deadly disease killing annually over one million people, as well as of other vector-borne diseases of humans, animals and plants. Pantoea agglomerans has been identified as an antagonist of many plant pathogens belonging to bacteria and fungi, as a result of antibiotic production, competition mechanisms or induction of plant resistance. Its use as a biocontrol agent permits the decrease of pesticide doses, being a healthy and environmental-friendly procedure. The application of the preparations of this bacterium efficiently protects the stored pome, stone and citrus fruits against invasion of moulds. P. agglomerans strains associated with both rhizosphere and plant tissues (as endophytes) efficiently promote the growth of many plants, including rice and wheat, which are the staple food for the majority of mankind. The promotion mechanisms are diverse and include fixation of atmospheric nitrogen, production of phytohormones, as well as degradation of phytate and phosphate solubilizing which makes the soil phosphorus available for plants. Accordingly, P. agglomerans is regarded as an ideal candidate for an environmental-friendly bioinoculant replacing chemical fertilizers. It has been documented that the Pantoea strains show biodegradation activity on various chemical pollutants of soil and water, including petroleum hydrocarbons and toxic metals. P. agglomerans prevents the penetration of harmful industrial contaminants into deeper parts of soil by biofilm formation, and has an ability to produce hydrogen from waste. Thus, this bacterium appears as a valuable bioremediator which, in some cases, may be acquired as a cheap form of energy. In conclusion, in spite of the proven pathologic role of P. agglomerans in causing occupational diseases of allergic and/or immunotoxic background and accidental infections, the beneficial traits of this species, and of related species of Pantoeagenus, are of great value for potential use in many areas of biotechnology. Hence, any restrictions on the use of these organisms and their products should be declined, providing safety precautions at work with the Pantoea biopreparations are maintained.
Jacek Dutkiewicz   
Department of Biological Health Hazards and Parasitology, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
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