Biotechnological and Agronomic Potential of Endophytic Pink-Pigmented Methylotrophic Methylobacterium spp.
The genus Methylobacterium is composed of pink-pigmented facultative methylotrophic (PPFM) bacteria, which are able to synthesize carotenoids and grow on reduced organic compounds containing one carbon (C-1), such as methanol and methylamine. Due to their high phenotypic plasticity, these bacteria are able to colonize different habitats, such as soil, water, and sediment, and different host plants as both endophytes and epiphytes. In plant colonization, the frequency and distribution may be influenced by plant genotype or by interactions with other associated microorganisms, which may result in increasing plant fitness. In this review, different aspects of interactions with the host plant are discussed, including their capacity to fix nitrogen, nodule the host plant, produce cytokinins, auxin and enzymes involved in the induction of systemic resistance, such as pectinase and cellulase, and therefore plant growth promotion. In addition, bacteria belonging to this group can be used to reduce environmental contamination because they are able to degrade toxic compounds, tolerate high heavy metal concentrations, and increase plant tolerance to these compounds. Moreover, genome sequencing and omics approaches have revealed genes related to plant-bacteria interactions that may be important for developing strains able to promote plant growth and protection against phytopathogens.