Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Use of undisturbed soil cores for evaluation of Rhizobium strains and methods for inoculation of tropical forage legumes in a Colombian Oxisol


Three experiments were conducted in an acid infertile Oxisol from the Llanos Orientales of Colombia. It was shown that greater increases in nitrogen yield in the tops (N yield) due to N fertilization ofPueraria phaseoloides (CIAT germplasm accession no. 9900),Stylosanthes capitata no. 1019,Centrosema macrocarpum no. 5065 andDesmodium ovalifolium no. 350 occurred in undisturbed soil cores than in pots of disturbed soil. Inoculation significantly increased N yield ofC. macrocarpum in soil cores, but not in pots.

In screening trials where a range of Rhizobium strains was used to inoculateD. ovalifolium, P. phaseoloides andC. macrocarpum grown in undisturbed soil cores, strains CIAT 2335, 2434 and 1780, respectively, caused the greatest increases in N yield. Inoculation caused greater increases of nodule numbers relative to the uninoculated control inC. macrocarpum than inD. ovalifolium orP. phaseoloides.

When each legume was inoculated with the most effective strain by different methods, and grown in soil cores, it was found that granulated inoculant (0.5 g/seed) was more effective than seeds pelleted with 50 g inoculant/kg for the small-seededD. ovalifolium, but was similar in effectiveness to pelleted inoculant for the larger-seededP. phaseoloides. With the relatively large-seededC. macrocarpum, granulated inoculant was less effective than pelleted inoculant. No clear differences between different types of pellets were observed.

The results show that undisturbed cores of acid infertile Oxisol can be used to screen for Rhizobium strains tolerant to these adverse soil conditions, although selected strains should then be subjected to further screening in the field, to determine whether they would make suitable commercial inoculants. It may not be possible to obtain maximum responses to inoculation by all legumes, unless the inoculation methods used here are improved.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1

    Ahmed B and Quilt P 1981 Effect of inoculum concentration and seed pelleting on growth and nitrogenase activity ofCentrosema virginianum cv. Antigua. Trop. Agric. (Trinidad) 58, 349–355.

  2. 2

    Brockwell J 1977 Application of legume seed inoculants.In A Treatise on Dinitrogen Fixation. Section IV Agronomy and Ecology. Eds R W F Hardy and A H Gibson. Wiley-Interscience, New York, pp 277–309.

  3. 3

    CIAT 1981 Annual Report, Tropical Pastures Program, 1980, CIAT, Cali, Colombia pp 5–26.

  4. 4

    Cochrane T T 1982 Caracterización agroecológica para el desarrollo de pasturas en suelos ácidos de América Tropical.In Manual para la Evaluación Agronómica. Red internacional de evaluación de pastos tropicales. Ed. J M Toledo, CIAT, Cali Colombia. pp. 23–44.

  5. 5

    Date R A 1968 Rhizobia survival on the inoculated legume seed. Trans. 9th Int. Congr. Soil Sci. Soc. Vol II, 75–83.

  6. 6

    Date R A 1977 Inoculation of tropical forage legumes.In Exploiting the Legume-Rhizobium Symboisos in Tropical Agriculture. Eds J M Vincent, A S Whitney and J Bose Univ. of Hawaii, NifTAL Project, Univ. Hawaii. Coll. Trop. Agric. Misc. Publ. 145, 293–311.

  7. 7

    Halliday J 1979 Field responses by tropical forage legumes to inoculation withRhizobium.In Pastures Production in Acid Soils of the Tropics. Eds. P A Sanchez and L E Tergas. CIAT, Cali, Colombia, pp 123–137.

  8. 8

    Ireland J A and Vincent J M 1968 A quantitative study of competition for nodule formation. Trans. 9th Int. Congr. Soil Sci. Soc. Vol. II, 85–93.

  9. 9

    Jung G, Mugnier J, Diem H G and Dommergues Y R 1982 Polymer-entrapped rhizobium as inoculant for legumes. Plant and Soil 65, 219–231.

  10. 10

    Powlson, D S 1980 Effect of cultivation on the mineralization of nitrogen in soil. Plant and Soil 57, 151–153.

  11. 11

    Roughley R J 1970 The preparation and use of legume seed inoculants. Plant and Soil 32, 675–701.

  12. 12

    Sánchez P A and Cochrane T T 1980 Soil constraints in relation to major farming systems of tropical America.In Priorities for Alleviating Soil-related Constraints to Food Production in the Tropics. IRRI, Los Baños, Philippines, pp 107–140.

  13. 13

    Vargas M A T and Suhet A R 1981 Eficiencia de inoculantes comerciais de estirpes nativas de rhizobium para seis leguminosas forrageiras em um solo de cerrado. Pesq. agropec. bras., Brasilia 16, 357–362.

  14. 14

    Vincent J M 1970 A Manual for the Study of Root Nodule Bacteria. IBP Handbook 15. Blackwell Scientific Pubs. London, 164 p.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sylvester-Bradley, R., Ayarza, M.A., Mendez, J.E. et al. Use of undisturbed soil cores for evaluation of Rhizobium strains and methods for inoculation of tropical forage legumes in a Colombian Oxisol. Plant Soil 74, 237–247 (1983).

Download citation

Key words

  • Centrosema
  • Desmodium
  • Inoculation
  • Nitrogen yield
  • Nodulation
  • Oxisol Pueraria
  • Rhizobium
  • Soil cores
  • Stylosanthes