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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 650905, 16 pages
Research Article

Linking Bacterial Endophytic Communities to Essential Oils: Clues from Lavandula angustifolia Mill

1Trees and Timber Institute, National Research Council, Via Madonna del Piano, No. 10, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019 Florence, Italy
2Laboratory of Microbial and Molecular Evolution, Department of Biology, University of Florence, Via Madonna del Piano 6, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019 Florence, Italy
3Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Drug Research and Child Health, University of Florence, Viale Pieraccini 6, 50139 Florence, Italy
4Center for Integrative Medicine, Careggi University Hospital, University of Florence, Viale Pieraccini 6, 50139 Florence, Italy
5Il giardino delle Erbe, via Del Corso 6, Casola Valsenio, 48010 Ravenna, Italy

Received 17 January 2014; Accepted 29 April 2014; Published 26 May 2014

Academic Editor: Gyorgyi Horvath

Copyright © 2014 Giovanni Emiliani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Endophytic bacteria play a crucial role in plant life and are also drawing much attention for their capacity to produce bioactive compounds of relevant biotechnological interest. Here we present the characterisation of the cultivable endophytic bacteria of Lavandula angustifolia Mill.—a species used since antiquity for its therapeutic properties—since the production of bioactive metabolites from medical plants may reside also in the activity of bacterial endophytes through their direct production, PGPR activity on host, and/or elicitation of plant metabolism. Lavender tissues are inhabited by a tissue specific endophytic community dominated by Proteobacteria, highlighting also their difference from the rhizosphere environment where Actinobacteria and Firmicutes are also found. Leaves’ endophytic community resulted as the most diverse from the other ecological niches. Overall, the findings reported here suggest: (i) the existence of different entry points for the endophytic community, (ii) its differentiation on the basis of the ecological niche variability, and (iii) a two-step colonization process for roots endophytes. Lastly, many isolates showed a strong inhibition potential against human pathogens and the molecular characterization demonstrated also the presence of not previously described isolates that may constitute a reservoir of bioactive compounds relevant in the field of pathogen control, phytoremediation, and human health.