, Volume 67, Issue 1–3, pp 113–124 | Cite as

Inoculation with indigenous rhizobium strains increases yields of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in northern Spain, although its efficiency is affected by the tillage system

  • Daniel Mulas
  • Victoria Seco
  • Pedro A. Casquero
  • Encarna Velázquez
  • Fernando González-Andrés


Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) crops hold the potential to obtain higher yields by enhancing their biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) with Rhizobium. However in contrast to other legumes, common bean has shown a lack of positive response to inoculation with Rhizobium in many cases. This has led to a limited use of rhizobial inoculants in this crop, especially in Europe. The adaptation of bacterial strains to the rhizosphere is a key factor in the success of any inoculant, especially in a promiscuous legume such as common bean. This research aimed at increasing common bean yields via inoculation with effective indigenous Rhizobium leguminosarum strains. Three highly effective strains (LCS0306, LBM1123 and ZBM1008) which were selected according to their effectiveness at BNF in hydroponic conditions were separately inoculated onto common bean in a field experiment. The experiment was carried out under three environments and three tillage systems: conventional-tillage (CONVT), no-tillage (NT) and a cover-crop (CC). The grain yield observed with seed inoculation was significantly higher than the yield obtained with uninoculated seed under CONVT and CC. However, under NT inoculation had no effect. Furthermore, under CONVT and CC, inoculation with R. leguminosarum LCS0306 produced even higher yields than those obtained in nitrogen-fertilised or control plots. This is the first attempt to explain the inoculation performance of common bean under different tillage systems in Europe. A gene–based hypothesis has been used to explain the effectiveness of indigenous common bean rhizobia as nitrogen fixers in this crop.


Rhizobium leguminosarum No-tillage Cover-crop Conventional-tillage Yield Field experiment 



This research was supported by the Regional Government of Castile and Leon, project LE002B05. The Spanish Ministry of Education granted Daniel Mulas.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Mulas
    • 1
  • Victoria Seco
    • 2
  • Pedro A. Casquero
    • 3
  • Encarna Velázquez
    • 4
  • Fernando González-Andrés
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y BiodiversidadUniversidad de LeónLeónSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Ingeniería y Ciencias AgrariasUniversidad de LeónLeónSpain
  3. 3.Escuela Superior y Técnica de Ingeniería AgrariaUniversidad de LeónLeónSpain
  4. 4.Departamento de Microbiología y GenéticaUniversidad de SalamancaSalamancaSpain

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