Plant and Soil

, Volume 321, Issue 1–2, pp 35–59

Nitrogen-fixing bacteria associated with leguminous and non-leguminous plants

  • Claudine Franche
  • Kristina Lindström
  • Claudine Elmerich
Review Article


Nitrogen is generally considered one of the major limiting nutrients in plant growth. The biological process responsible for reduction of molecular nitrogen into ammonia is referred to as nitrogen fixation. A wide diversity of nitrogen-fixing bacterial species belonging to most phyla of the Bacteria domain have the capacity to colonize the rhizosphere and to interact with plants. Leguminous and actinorhizal plants can obtain their nitrogen by association with rhizobia or Frankia via differentiation on their respective host plants of a specialized organ, the root nodule. Other symbiotic associations involve heterocystous cyanobacteria, while increasing numbers of nitrogen-fixing species have been identified as colonizing the root surface and, in some cases, the root interior of a variety of cereal crops and pasture grasses. Basic and advanced aspects of these associations are covered in this review.


Nitrogen fixation Symbiosis Rhizobia Frankia Cyanobacteria Azospirillum 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudine Franche
    • 1
  • Kristina Lindström
    • 2
  • Claudine Elmerich
    • 3
  1. 1.Equipe Rhizogénèse, UMR DIAPCInstitut de Recherche pour le DéveloppementMontpellier Cedex 5France
  2. 2.Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, Viikki BiocenterUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Biologie Moléculaire du Gène chez les Extrêmophiles, Département de MicrobiologieInstitut PasteurParis Cedex 15France

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