Current Microbiology

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 59-64

First online:

Survival and Nodulating Ability of Indigenous and Inoculated Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar trifolii in Sterilized and Unsterilized Soil Treated with Sewage Sludge

  • Diane PurchaseAffiliated withSchool of Health, Biological and Environmental Sciences, Middlesex University, Bounds Green Road, London N11 2NQ, UK
  • , Roger J. MilesAffiliated withDivision of Life Sciences, King's College London, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 8WA, UK

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Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar trifolii was detected in soil from 41 of 47 plots, within nine sewage sludge-treated sites with different soil characteristics and heavy metal contents. However, although population size varied widely, there was no consistent correlation with soil heavy metal concentration. Indigenous populations in 20 plots within four selected sites retained their ability to induce effective nodule formation after incubation of soil in the dark for 165 days. In sterilized (γ-irradiated) soil, Rhizobium survival varied from 0.01% to 95% depending on the soil sample and strain used. Metal-resistant strains with non-mucoid colonies survived less well than mucoid metal-sensitive strains.