Nitrogen fixation capacity and nodule occupancy by Bradyrhizobium japonicum and B. elkanii strains
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- Hungria, M., Boddey, L., Santos, M. et al. Biol Fertil Soils (1998) 27: 393. doi:10.1007/s003740050449
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In a previous study soybean Bradyrhizobium strains, used in Brazilian studies and inoculants over the last 30 years, and strains adapted to the Brazilian Cerrados, a region frequently submitted to environmental and nutritional stresses, were analyzed for 32 morphological and physiological parameters in vivo and in vitro. A cluster analysis allowed the subdivision of these strains into species Bradyrhizobium japonicum, Bradyrhizobium elkanii and a mixed genotype. In this study, the bacteria were analyzed for nodulation, N2 fixation capacity, nodule occupancy and the ability to increase yield. The goal was to find a relationship between the strain groups and the symbiotic performance. Two strains of Brazilian B. japonicum showed higher rates of N2 fixation and nodule efficiency (mg of N mg–1 of nodules) under axenic conditions. These strains also showed greater yield increases in field experiments when compared to B. elkanii strains. However, no differences were detected between B. japonicum and B. elkanii strains when comparing nodule occupancy capacity. The adapted strains belonging to the serogroup B. elkanii SEMIA 566, most clustered in a mixed genotype, were more competitive than the parental strain, and some showed a higher capacity of N2 fixation. Some of the adapted strains, such as S-370 and S-372, have shown similar N2 fixation rates and nodulation competitiveness to two Brazilian strains of B. japonicum. This similarity demonstrates the possibility of enhancing N2 fixing ability, after local adaptation, even within B. elkanii species. Differences in the DNA profiles were also detected between the parental SEMIA 566 and the adapted strains by analyses with the ERIC and REP-PCR techniques. Consequently, genetic, morphological and physiological changes can be a result of adaptation of rhizobia to the soil. This variability can be used to select strains capable of increasing the contribution of N2 fixation to soybean nutrition.