Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 140, Issue 2–3, pp 281–286 | Cite as

Effect of phosphorus supply on phosphate uptake and alkaline phosphatase activity in Rhizobia

  • J. B. Smart
  • M. J. Dilworth
  • A. D. Robson
Original Papers


The effect of P nutrition on phosphate uptake and alkaline phosphatase activity was studied in chemostat culture for four rhizobial and three bradyrhizobial species. Phosphate-limited cells took up phosphate 10- to 180-fold faster than phosphate-rich cells. The four fast-growing rhizobial strains contained high levels of alkaline phosphatase activity under P-limited conditions compared to the repressed levels found in P-rich cells; alkaline phosphatase activity could not be detected in three slow-growing rhizobial strains, regardless of their P-status.

Glycerol 1-phosphate-uptake in the cowpea Rhizobium NGR234 was derepressed over 50-fold under P-limited conditions, and appeared to be co-regulated with phosphate uptake.

The phosphate-uptake system appeared similar in all strains with apparent Km values ranging from 1.6 μM to 6.0 μM phosphate and maximum activities from 17.2 to 126 nmol · min-1 · (mg dry weight of cells)-1. Carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone strongly inhibited phosphate uptake in all strains and a number of other metabolic inhibitors also decreased phosphate uptake in the cowpea Rhizobium NGR234. The phosphate uptake system in all strains failed to catalyse exchange of 32P label in preloaded cells or efflux of phosphate. The results suggest a single, repressible, unidirectional and energy-dependent system for the transport of phosphate into rhizobia.

Key words

Alkaline phosphatase Continuous culture Glycerol 1-phosphate uptake Phosphate exchange Phosphate uptake Rhizobium Snake bean bacteroids 



carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone




N-2-hydroxyethyl-piperazine-N′-2-ethanesulphonic acid


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. B. Smart
    • 1
  • M. J. Dilworth
    • 1
  • A. D. Robson
    • 2
  1. 1.Nitrogen Fixation Research Group, School of Environmental and Life SciencesMurdoch UniversityMurdoch
  2. 2.Soil Science and Plant Nutrition Group, School of AgricultureUniversity of Western AustraliaNedlands

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