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Applied and Environmental Microbiology


Environmental Studies Program

Additional Department

Department of Earth Sciences


Genetic characteristics of 14 Rhizobium and 9 Bradyrhizobium mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa)-nodulating strains isolated from surface (0- to 0.5-rn) and deep (4- to 6-m) rooting zones were determined in order to examine the hypothesis that surface- and deep-soil symbiont populations were related but had become genetically distinct during adaptation to contrasting soil conditions. To examine genetic diversity, Southern blots of PstI-digested genomic DNA were sequentially hybridized with the nodDABC region of Rhizobium meliloti, the Klebsiella pneumoniae nifHDK region encoding nitrogenase structural genes, and the chromosome- localized ndvB region ofR. meliloti. Plasmid profile and host plant nodulation assays were also made. Isolates from mesquite nodulated beans and cowpeas but not alfalfa, clover, or soybeans. Mesquite was nodulated by diversespeciesofsymbionts(R.meliloti,Rhizobiumleguminosarumbv.phaseoli,andParasponiabradyrhizobia). There were no differences within the groups of mesquite-associated rhizobia or bradyrhizobia in cross- inoculation response. The ndvB hybridization results showed the greatest genetic diversity among rhizobial strains. The pattern of ndvB-hybridizing fragments suggested that surface and deep strains were clonally related, but groups of related strains from each soil depth could be distinguished. Less variation was found with nifHDK and nodDABC probes. Large plasmids (>1,500 kb) were observed in al rhizobia and some bradyrhizobia.

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Soil Science Commons