Cotton leaf, bract, fibre from opened bolls, and soil samples were collected weekly during two growing seasons (1984, 1985). Total and Gram negative bacterial populations were determined for each sample. Representative bacterial isolates were identified and endotoxin concentrations determined. For both years total and Gram negative bacterial populations on all sample types remained relatively stable until plant senescence. Afterwards, until plant death by frost, counts for all samples increased dramatically. Enterobacter agglomerans was the predominant species on leaf and bract, whereas the "all other" Gram negative bacterial species classification was the most common on fibre, with E agglomerans a close second. Senescence affected the occurrence of the species isolated. Statistical analysis partitioned by sample type showed strong correlations between endotoxin concentrations and certain bacteriological and environmental variables. The data suggest that in hot, humid environments the concentration of endotoxin on cotton leaf, bract, and fibre may be predicted by total and Gram negative bacterial counts, daily high temperature, and week after plant germination.
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