Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 115, Issue 1, pp 103–108 | Cite as

Regulation of symbiotic nitrogen fixation in root nodules of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) infected with Rhizobium meliloti

  • Werner Kamberger


Symbiotic nitrogen fixation of Rhizobium meliloti bacteroids in Medicago sativa root nodules was suppressed by several inorganic nitrogen sources. Amino acids like glutamine, glutamic acid and aspartic acid, which can serve as sole nitrogen sources for the unnodulated plant did not influence nitrogenase activity of effective nodules, even at high concentrations.

Ammonia and nitrate suppressed symbiotic nitrogen fixation in vivo only at concentrations much higher than those needed for suppression of nitrogenase activity in free living nitrogen fixing bacteria. The kinetics of suppression were slow compared with that of free living nitrogen fixing bacteria. On the other hand, nitrite, which acts as a direct inhibitor of nitrogenase, suppressed very quickly and at low concentrations. Glutamic acid and glutamine enhanced the effect of ammonia dramatically, while the suppression by nitrate was enhanced only slightly.

Key words

Root nodule symbiosis Rhizobium meliloti Medicago sativa Nitrogenase activity Regulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Werner Kamberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Mikrobiologie der Universität Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenFederal Republic of Germany

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