The strains were routinely manipulated in LB (Difco) or MSgg medium [5 mM potassium phosphate, 100 mM MOPS (pH 7), 2 mM MgCl2, 50 μM MnCl2, 50 μM FeCl3 for liquid medium or 125 μM FeCl3 for solid medium, 700 μM CaCl2, 1 μM ZnCl2, 2 μM thiamine, 0.5% glycerol, 0.5% glutamate, Threonine (50 μg ml−1), Tryptophan (50 μg ml−1), and PhenylAlanine (50 μg ml−1)] (31). MSgg plates [1.5% Bacto Agar (Difco)] were prepared on the day of the experiment and air-dried under a laminar flow hood for 40 min before inoculation.

For cloning purposes, LB or LB agar was used, with antibiotics at the following concentrations: ampicillin (100 μg ml−1; AG Scientific), kanamycin (10 μg ml−1; AG Scientific), chloramphenicol (10 μg ml−1; AMRESCO), tetracycline (10 μg ml−1; AMRESCO), spectinomycin (100 μg ml−1; Tivan Biotech), and erythromycin (1 μg ml−1; AMRESCO) + lincomycin (25 μg ml−1; Sigma-Aldrich) for MLS.

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