Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Use of an organic buffer for the selection of acid tolerantRhizobium meliloti strains

  • 66 Accesses

  • 21 Citations


Nine media used to grow rhizobia were examined for their ability to maintain a stable low pH during the growth ofR. meliloti Large fluctuations in the pH of all media were recorded within 72 h, indicating their unsuitability for use in the selection of acid tolerant rhizobia. Morpholino-ethanesulphonic acid (MES) was assessed for its ability to buffer the pH of the media whilst still permitting rapid growth ofR. meliloti, R. trifolii, andBr. lupini. With 30.7 mM MES, the pH of a defined medium containing galactose, arabinose, and glutamate did not change from the initial value of 5.5 even though rhizobial numbers increased from 104 to 109 cells.ml−1. Even at a buffer concentration of 15.3 mM, pH only increased from 5.5 to 5.6. There was no effect of the buffer on rhizobial growth.

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


  1. 1

    Barber L E 1981 Alfalfa nodulation and growth following inoculation with acid-tolerant rhizobia.In Current Perspectives in Nitrogen Fixation. Eds. A H Gibson and W E Newton, Griffin Press, S. Aust.

  2. 2

    Bromfield E S P and Jones D G 1979 Studies on acid tolerance ofRhizobium trifolii. J. Appl. Bact. 48, 253–264.

  3. 3

    Bushby H V A 1982 Ecology.In Nitrogen Fixation Vol. 2 Rhizobium. Ed W Broughton, Oxford Univ. Press.

  4. 4

    Date R A and Halliday J 1979 Selecting Rhizobium for acid, infertile soils of the tropics, Nature 277, 62–64.

  5. 5

    Good N E, Winget G D, Winter W, Connolly T N, Izawa S and Singh R M M 1966 Hydrogen ion buffers for biological research. Bioch. 5 (2), 467–477.

  6. 6

    Graham P H, Viteri S E, Machie F, Vargas A T and Palacios A 1982 Variation in acid tolerance among strains ofRhizobium phaseoli. Field Crops Res. 5, 121–128.

  7. 7

    Jensen H L 1942 Nitrogen fixation in leguminous plants. I. General characteristics of root nodule bacteria isolated from species of Medicago and Trifolium in Australia. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 67, 98–108.

  8. 8

    Keyser H H and Munns D N 1979 Effects of calcium, manganese and aluminium on growth of rhizobia in acid media. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 43(3), 500–503.

  9. 9

    Keyser H H and Munns D N 1979 Tolerance of rhizobia to acidity, aluminium and phosphate. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 43(3), 519–523.

  10. 10

    Khan S I 1982 Acid soil factors affecting growth of fast and slow growing cells of rhizobia. Ph. D. Thesis. Univ. of W. Australia.

  11. 11

    Lapinskas E B 1978 Effectiveness of clover nodule bacteria adapted to an acid soil reaction. Mikrobiologiya, 47(2), 347–353.

  12. 12

    Miles A A and Misra S S 1938 The estimation of the bactericidal power of blood. J. Hyg. Camb. 38, 732–749 cited in Vincent, 1970.

  13. 13

    Morales V M and Hubbell D H 1978 Effect of pH on growth of cowpea type Rhizobium on synthetic medium. Soil Crop Sci. Soc. Florida Proc. 38, 83–86.

  14. 14

    Munns D N and Keyser H H 1981 Response of Rhizobium strains to acid and aluminium stress. Soil Biol. Bioch. 13, 115–118.

  15. 15

    Munro A L S 1970 Measurement and control of pH values. Methods in Micro. 2, 39–91.

  16. 16

    Parker C A 1971 The significance of acid and alkali production by rhizobia on laboratory media. Proc. 4th Aust. Legume Nod. Conf. Canberra, Aust.

  17. 17

    Rice W A 1982 Performance ofRhizobium meliloti strains selected for low-pH tolerance. Can. J. Plant Sci. 62, 941–948.

  18. 18

    Thornton F C and Davey C B 1983 Acid tolerance ofRhizobium trifolii in culture media. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 47, 496–501.

  19. 19

    Vincent J M 1970 A manual for the practical study of the root-nodule bacteria. IBP Handbook No. 15, Blackwell Sci. Publ., Oxford.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Howieson, J.G. Use of an organic buffer for the selection of acid tolerantRhizobium meliloti strains. Plant Soil 88, 367–376 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02197493

Download citation

Key words

  • Acid tolerance
  • Artificial media
  • Buffer
  • Rhizobium meliloti