Production of bioactive volatiles by different Burkholderia ambifaria strains

J Chem Ecol. 2013 Jul;39(7):892-906. doi: 10.1007/s10886-013-0315-y. Epub 2013 Jul 7.


Increasing evidence indicates that volatile compounds emitted by bacteria can influence the growth of other organisms. In this study, the volatiles produced by three different strains of Burkholderia ambifaria were analysed and their effects on the growth of plants and fungi, as well as on the antibiotic resistance of target bacteria, were assessed. Burkholderia ambifaria emitted highly bioactive volatiles independently of the strain origin (clinical environment, rhizosphere of pea, roots of maize). These volatile blends induced significant biomass increase in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana as well as growth inhibition of two phytopathogenic fungi (Rhizoctonia solani and Alternaria alternata). In Escherichia coli exposed to the volatiles of B. ambifaria, resistance to the aminoglycoside antibiotics gentamicin and kanamycin was found to be increased. The volatile blends of the three strains were similar, and dimethyl disulfide was the most abundant compound. Sulfur compounds, ketones, and aromatic compounds were major groups in all three volatile profiles. When applied as pure substance, dimethyl disulfide led to increased plant biomass, as did acetophenone and 3-hexanone. Significant fungal growth reduction was observed with high concentrations of dimethyl di- and trisulfide, 4-octanone, S-methyl methanethiosulphonate, 1-phenylpropan-1-one, and 2-undecanone, while dimethyl trisulfide, 1-methylthio-3-pentanone, and o-aminoacetophenone increased resistance of E. coli to aminoglycosides. Comparison of the volatile profile produced by an engineered mutant impaired in quorum-sensing (QS) signalling with the corresponding wild-type led to the conclusion that QS is not involved in the regulation of volatile production in B. ambifaria LMG strain 19182.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis
  • Burkholderia / chemistry
  • Burkholderia / genetics
  • Burkholderia / metabolism*
  • Ecosystem
  • Quorum Sensing / genetics
  • Species Specificity
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / chemistry
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / metabolism*


  • Volatile Organic Compounds