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Understanding acid tolerance in root nodule bacteria

Dilworth, M.J., Reeve, W.G., Tiwari, R.P. and Vivas-Marfisi, A.I. (2002) Understanding acid tolerance in root nodule bacteria. In: 3th International Congress on Nitrogen Fixation, July, 2001, Ontario pp. 204-208.

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Abstract

I. Introduction
The problems for agriculture on acidic soils are especially significant in relation to legume nodulation on such soils. The low rainfall Mediterranean climate of the eastern wheat-belt of Western Australia represents one particular type of problem. Here the nitrogen input for wheat crops needs to come from N2 fixation from pasture legumes, but the growing season is inadequate for normal annual clovers and the acidity of the soils is too great for normal strains of Sinorhizohium meliloi to persist and nodulate the annual species of Medicago with suitable short growing season requirements. Introduction of strains of S. melilola isolated from annual Medicago spp. growing on acid soils in Mediterranean Europe (Howieson, Ewing 1986) have, however, helped establish wide areas (Ca. 400 000 ha) of medic pastures in this environment. Our laboratory is trying to understand why these introduced strains of S. meliloti arc able to colonize, persist and nodulate in such soils when so many others cannot.

The initial question was whether strains were acid-tolerant because they carried genes, which others did not, or whether they simply had more effective versions of genes which were of general occurrence. Other questions concern how many genes arc specifically required for acid tolerance, how the acid environment is perceived, how the acid-tolerant cells respond to It, and what physiological mechanisms arc brought into play. Some of these questions arc addressed in this brief review.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Rhizobium Studies
Publisher: CABI Publishing
Copyright: (c) CAB International
Notes: Appears in: Nitrogen fixation: global perspectives (2002), Finan, T.M., O'Brian, M.R., Layzell, J.K. and Newton, W. CABI Publishing, New York.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/2141
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