Genetic diversity of rhizobia associated with alfalfa in Serbian soils
Stajković-Srbinović, O., De Meyer, S.E., Miličić, B., Delić, D. and Willems, A. (2012) Genetic diversity of rhizobia associated with alfalfa in Serbian soils. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 48 (5). pp. 531-545.
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We have evaluated the genetic diversity and phylogeny of alfalfa rhizobia, originating from different types of soils in Serbia and their ability to establish an effective symbiosis with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). A collection of 65 strains isolated from root nodules of alfalfa were characterized by rep-PCR analysis, partial and complete 16S rDNA gene and recA gene sequencing, as well as atpD gene sequencing and DNA-DNA hybridizations. The results of the sequence analyses revealed that Sinorhizobium meliloti is the dominant species in alfalfa nodules. Only one strain was identified as Sinorhizobium medicae, two strains as Rhizobium tibeticum and one strain as Rhizobium sp. Despite the fact that the majority of strains were identified as S. meliloti, a high genetic diversity at strain level was detected. Almost all isolates shared the ability to nodulate and fix nitrogen with M. sativa, except 11 of them, which were incapable of fixing nitrogen with this species. About 50% of the isolates showed values of symbiotic effectiveness (SE) above 50%, while 10% of the strains were highly effective with SE values above 70%. Some of the strains which were highly effective in nitrogen fixation at the same time could intensively solubilize phosphates, offering a possibility for multipurpose inoculum development. This was the first genetic study of rhizobia isolated from this region and also the first report of natural presence of R. tibeticum in root nodules of M. sativa.
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