, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 7–14 | Cite as

Nodulation ability in different genotypes of Phaseolus lunatus by rhizobia from California agricultural soils

  • Ademir Sérgio Ferreira de Araujo
  • Angela Celis de Almeida Lopes
  • Jorge C. Berny Mier y Teran
  • Antonia Palkovic
  • Paul Gepts


Phaseolus lunatus is the second economically most important species of the genus Phaseolus. It carries out N fixation through symbiosis with rhizobia. However, it is unclear whether P. lunatus can nodulate with native rhizobia from soils where this legume is not native or was not cultivated previously. Thus, this study assessed the ability of 14 geographically distant lima bean genotypes to nodulate with rhizobia from three California agricultural soils: without a history of legumes or P. lunatus cultivation, with a history of legumes as a cover crop, and with a history of P. lunatus cultivation. Nodulation only occurred on genotypes grown in the soil with a history of P. lunatus planting. The analysis of variance of nodulation traits showed that the genotype effect was highly significant in all the traits measured. Shoot biomass had a higher correlation with nodule size and nodule weight than with nodule number. In addition, shoot biomass and leaf N content were positively correlated with nodule coloration and with nodule position close to the main root of the plant. This study suggests that agricultural soils from California do not appear to have native rhizobia able to nodulate P. lunatus, which suggests the need to inoculate, at least initially, the seeds at planting in order to establish the population of rhizobia. Also, geographically distant lima bean genotypes have different responses to nodulating bacteria and it suggests that future studies to test these genotypes across different environments should be pursued.


Lima bean N fixation Legumes Bradyrhizobium 



The authors thank “Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico - CNPq” (grants PDE Research Fellowship 200484/2014-1 and 201005/2014-0), the California Dry Bean Advisory Board, and the Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis, for financial support. Thanks for the help in the greenhouse to Steve Silva and Andrew Hutchinson. The authors also would like to thank the valuable reviewers for their comments that helped to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ademir Sérgio Ferreira de Araujo
    • 1
  • Angela Celis de Almeida Lopes
    • 2
  • Jorge C. Berny Mier y Teran
    • 3
  • Antonia Palkovic
    • 3
  • Paul Gepts
    • 3
  1. 1.Soil Quality Lab., Agricultural Science CenterFederal University of PiauíTeresinaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Crop Science, Agricultural Science CenterFederal University of PiauíTeresinaBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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