Frank Dazzo Ph.D.

Frank Dazzo
Telephone: 517-884-5394

Microbiology & Molecular Genetics


6174 Biomedical Physical Sciences
East Lansing, MI 48824

Beneficial plant-bacteria associations of agricultural importance eg.nitrogen-fixing bacterium, Rhizobium


B.S. 1970, Florida State University
M.S., 1972, University of Florida
Ph.D., 1975, University of Florida
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, 1976-1977, University of Wisconsin


Overview of Current Program:

I conduct basic and applied research on beneficial plant-bacteria associations of agricultural importance, especially those involving the nitrogen-fixing bacterium, Rhizobium. A main focus has been on elucidating the events leading to successful infection of clover roots by the Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii microsymbiont, and the subsequent development of nitrogen-fixing root nodules. We also investigate a newly described natural association between Rhizobium and cereals (e.g., rice and wheat), and are exploring ways to increase cereal production under real-world agronomic conditions by exploiting the benefits of this plant-microbe association. A second research focus is the development of CMEIAS, a new generation of interactive computer software that combines the resolving power of microscopy with digital image analysis to strengthen microscopy-based approaches for understanding microbial ecology in situ at single cell resolution. Various natural and managed communities and a wide range of digital microscopies are being used for that work.



Dazzo FB. CMEIAS-aided microscopy of the spatial ecology of individual bacterial interactions involving cell-to-cell communication within biofilms. Sensors (Basel). 2012;12(6):7047-62. doi: 10.3390/s120607047. Epub 2012 May 29.

Trevisan R, Pertile R, Bronamonte V, Dazzo FB, Squartini A. Dinophyceae fluctuations in two alpine lakes of contrasting size during a 10-year fortnightly survey. J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Jun;22(6):754-62. 

Ji KX, Chi F, Yang MF, Shen SH, Jing YX, Dazzo FB, Cheng HP. Movement of rhizobia inside tobacco and lifestyle alternation from endophytes to free-living  rhizobia on leaves. J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 Feb;20(2):238-44.

Gross CA, Reddy CK, Dazzo FB. CMEIAS color segmentation: an improved computing technology to process color images for quantitative microbial ecology studies at  single-cell resolution. Microb Ecol. 2010 Feb;59(2):400-14. doi: 10.1007/s00248-009-9616-7. Epub 2009 Dec 19.

Muresu R, Polone E, Sulas L, Baldan B, Tondello A, Delogu G, Cappuccinelli P, Alberghini S, Benhizia Y, Benhizia H, Benguedouar A, Mori B, Calamassi R, Dazzo FB, Squartini A. Coexistence of predominantly nonculturable rhizobia with diverse, endophytic bacterial taxa within nodules of wild legumes. FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2008 Mar;63(3):383-400. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2007.00424.x. Epub 2008 Jan 9.

Gantner S, Schmid M, D√ºrr C, Schuhegger R, Steidle A, Hutzler P, Langebartels C, Eberl L, Hartmann A, Dazzo FB. In situ quantitation of the spatial scale of calling distances and population density-independent N-acylhomoserine lactone-mediated communication by rhizobacteria colonized on plant roots. FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2006 May;56(2):188-94.

Chi F, Shen SH, Cheng HP, Jing YX, Yanni YG, Dazzo FB. Ascending migration of endophytic rhizobia, from roots to leaves, inside rice plants and assessment of benefits to rice growth physiology. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 Nov;71(11):7271-8. PubMed PMID: 16269768;

Rivas R, Willems A, Subba-Rao NS, Mateos PF, Dazzo FB, Kroppenstedt RM,Mart√≠nez-Molina E, Gillis M, Velaquez E. Description of Devosia neptuniae sp. nov. that nodulates and fixes nitrogen in symbiosis with Neptunia natans, an aquatic legume from India. Syst Appl Microbiol. 2003 Mar;26(1):47-53. 

Rivas R, Vel√°zquez E, Willems A, Vizca√≠no N, Subba-Rao NS, Mateos PF, Gillis M, Dazzo FB, Martinez-Molina E. A new species of Devosia that forms a unique nitrogen-fixing root-nodule symbiosis with the aquatic legume Neptunia natans (L.f.) druce. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Nov;68(11):5217-22. PubMed PMID: 12406707;

Squartini A, Struffi P, D√∂ring H, Selenska-Pobell S, Tola E, Giacomini A, Vendramin E, Velazquez E, Mateos PF, Martinez-Molina E, Dazzo FB, Casella S, Nuti MP. Rhizobium sullae sp. nov. (formerly 'Rhizobium hedysari'), the root-nodule microsymbiont of Hedysarum coronarium L. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2002 Jul;52(Pt 4):1267-76.

Dollhopf SL, Hashsham SA, Dazzo FB, Hickey RF, Criddle CS, Tiedje JM. The impact of fermentative organisms on carbon flow in methanogenic systems under constant low-substrate conditions. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2001 Aug;56(3-4):531-8.

Mateos PF, Baker DL, Petersen M, Vel√°zquez E, Jim√©nez-Zurdo JI, Mart√≠nez-Molina E, Squartini A, Orgambide G, Hubbell DH, Dazzo FB. Erosion of root epidermal cell walls by Rhizobium polysaccharide-degrading enzymes as related to primary host infection in the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis. Can J Microbiol. 2001 Jun;47(6):475-87

Liu J, Dazzo FB, Glagoleva O, Yu B, Jain AK. CMEIAS: A Computer-Aided System for the Image Analysis of Bacterial Morphotypes in Microbial Communities. Microb Ecol. 2001 Apr;41(3):173-194

Fernandez AS, Hashsham SA, Dollhopf SL, Raskin L, Glagoleva O, Dazzo FB, Hickey RF, Criddle CS, Tiedje JM. Flexible community structure correlates with stable community function in methanogenic bioreactor communities perturbed by glucose. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Sep;66(9):4058-67.

Hashsham SA, Fernandez AS, Dollhopf SL, Dazzo FB, Hickey RF, Tiedje JM, Criddle CS. Parallel processing of substrate correlates with greater functional
stability in methanogenic bioreactor communities perturbed by glucose. ApplEnviron Microbiol. 2000 Sep;66(9):4050-7. 

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