I assume that plants, like animals, have an ability to fight off bacteria that invade their cells (support: here and here.

However, water often harbors quite a bit of bacteria in even unsuspecting locations (e.g., see here).

Moreover, plants store a lot of water in their vacuoles.

I was wondering, whether the water stored in plant cells tends to harbor bacteria...

If so, are the bacterial communities in such water-storage organelles unique to plant vacuoles or do bacteria get transferred with the water as it moves through the plant?


1 Answer 1


As stated in Plant Signal Behav. 2010 Dec; 5(12): 1568–1570:

Phytopathogenic bacteria do not enter plant host cells, but proliferate in the intracellular space.

But as they can reach the apoplast, pathogenic bacteria can take advantage of environmental humidity levels and manipulate water content inside plant leaves to reproduce and spread infection as shown in Nature volume539, pages524–529

So yes, bacteria can infect water inside plants but usually not inside the plant cells themselves. As they infect the intracellular space, they can spread in the water and infect the whole plant. It is also to mention that we are not speaking about the same bacteria as in standing water or something else. Viruses on the other hand can infect the plant cells themselves.


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