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Diversity and stress tolerance in rhizobia from Parque Chaqueño region of Argentina nodulating Prosopis alba


The aim of this work was to investigate the genetic diversity, symbiotic effectiveness, drought tolerance, and indole acetic acid production of indigenous rhizobial populations in the Parque Chaqueño of Argentina able to nodulate Prosopis alba, the dominant forest tree of this region. The populations were sampled at five locations from the Arid, Semi-arid, and Humid Chaco in the Parque Chaqueño region. A set of rhizobial strains able to nodulate P. alba was obtained and selected based on their molecular diversity. Data obtained by BOX-PCR indicated that the highest molecular variability was observed in rhizobial isolates from Semi-arid Chaco. High level of indolic compound production and tolerance to osmotic treatment were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) correlated with water restrictions of the environments where the strains belonged. A small set of rhizobial strains that stimulate P. alba growth was selected from a large group of strains. The strains were identified by 16S rDNA sequencing as belonging to the genera Mesorhizobium, Bradyrhizobium, and Ensifer. To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. alba nodulation by strains other than Mesorhizobium chacoense, which was already described for the Parque Chaqueño.

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The authors thank Dr. Cecilia Bruno (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba) for her assistance in statistical data analysis, Diego Lopez Lauenstein for soil sampling, Franco Fernandez for his assistance in sequence analysis, and Paola Suarez and Daniela Gomez (IFRGV-INTA) for technical assistance. Anibal Verga, Nacira Muñoz, and Ramiro Lascano (IFRGV-INTA) critically reviewed the manuscript and helped in the discussion of data. We also thank translator Jorgelina Brasca for correcting the English style. L.C.H.D. is FCEFN–UNC student, P.G. and E.R. are INTA researchers, and M.M. is INTA and CONICET researcher. This work was supported by INTA-PNFOR-044341 and Secyt-UNC 162/12 projects. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Mariana Melchiorre.

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Chávez Díaz, L., González, P., Rubio, E. et al. Diversity and stress tolerance in rhizobia from Parque Chaqueño region of Argentina nodulating Prosopis alba . Biol Fertil Soils 49, 1153–1165 (2013).

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  • Prosopis alba
  • Symbiosis
  • Rhizobial diversity
  • Parque Chaqueño