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The Fodder Legume Chamaecytisus albidus Establishes Functional Symbiosis with Different Bradyrhizobial Symbiovars in Morocco


In this work, we analyzed the symbiotic performance and diversity of rhizobial strains isolated from the endemic shrubby legume Chamaecytisus albidus grown in soils of three different agroforestry ecosystems representing arid and semi-arid forest areas in Morocco. The analysis of the rrs gene sequences from twenty-four representative strains selected after REP-PCR fingerprinting showed that all the strains belong to the genus Bradyrhizobium. Following multi-locus sequence analysis (MLSA) using the rrs, gyrB, recA, glnII, and rpoB housekeeping genes, five representative strains, CA20, CA61, CJ2, CB10, and CB61 were selected for further molecular studies. Phylogenetic analysis of the concatenated glnII, gyrB, recA, and rpoB genes showed that the strain CJ2 isolated from Sahel Doukkala soil is close to Bradyrhizobium canariense BTA-1 T (96.95%); that strains CA20 and CA61 isolated from the Amhach site are more related to Bradyrhizobium valentinum LmjM3T, with 96.40 and 94.57% similarity values; and that the strains CB10 and CB60 isolated from soil in the Bounaga site are more related to Bradyrhizobium murdochi CNPSo 4020 T and Bradyrhizobium. retamae Ro19T, with which they showed 95.45 and 97.34% similarity values, respectively. The phylogenetic analysis of the symbiotic genes showed that the strains belong to symbiovars lupini, genistearum, and retamae. All the five strains are able to nodulate Lupinus luteus, Retama monosperma, and Cytisus monspessilanus, but they do not nodulate Glycine max and Phaseolus vulgaris. The inoculation tests showed that the strains isolated from the 3 regions improve significantly the plant yield as compared to uninoculated plants. However, the strains of Bradyrhizobium sp. sv. retamae isolated from the site of Amhach were the most performing. The phenotypic analysis showed that the strains are able to use a wide range of carbohydrates and amino acids as sole carbon and nitrogen source. The strains isolated from the arid areas of Bounaga and Amhach were more tolerant to salinity and drought stress than strains isolated in the semi-arid area of Sahel Doukkala.

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Data Availability

All the sequences described in this work are deposited in the Genbank depository of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Each sequence has an accession number and is easily available to all researchers worldwide.


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The authors want to thank all the people who contributed to the achievement of this study.


Financial support was obtained from Académie Hassan II des Sciences et Techniques (in Morocco). Mr Omar Bouhnik received a grant from the Hassan II Academy of Science and Technology.

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OB carried out the experiments and participated in the analysis and interpretation of data and writing the manuscript. SA, HA, ML, MB, MO, MB, YA, and SE participated in the samplings and the acquisition and interpretation of the results. HA participated to the design of the work and interpretation of results. EJB contributed to the acquisition of data and revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. MME contributed to the conception and design of the work, interpretation of the data, writing the paper, and revising it. All the authors contributed to the final version of the paper.

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Correspondence to Omar Bouhnik.

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Bouhnik, O., Alami, S., Lamin, H. et al. The Fodder Legume Chamaecytisus albidus Establishes Functional Symbiosis with Different Bradyrhizobial Symbiovars in Morocco. Microb Ecol (2021).

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  • Bradyrhizobium
  • Chamaecytisus albidus
  • Diversity
  • Symbiosis
  • MLSA
  • Phylogeny