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Counting rhizobia

O'Hara, G.W., Hungria, M., Woomer, P. and Howieson, J.G. (2016) Counting rhizobia. In: Howieson, J.G. and Dilworth, M.J., (eds.) Working with rhizobia. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra, pp. 109-124.

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The enumeration of rhizobia is valuable for the assessment of rhizobial populations in soil and how they vary, to follow the growth of cultures in the laboratory or to assess the number and viability of rhizobia in commercial inoculants for quality control. The number of rhizobia in soil is dynamic and varies within and between seasons, so any enumeration must be set in context. Enumeration of rhizobia is la¬bour and resource intensive and should only be undertaken when the information is vital.

There are few new techniques with which to quantify rhizobia. Despite the mo¬lecular and genomic eras, there has emerged no robust DNA-based technology to replace serial dilutions and direct or indirect quantification. The qPCR and MISEQ methodologies cannot currently differentiate rhizobial strains reliably nor distinguish sufficiently between DNA from live cells and DNA from dead cells to make them effective substitutes for the standard viable counting techniques dis¬cussed below, although this may change. This chapter, therefore, reiterates appro¬priate and well-utilised approaches to enumeration of rhizobia in soil, inoculants and in vitro.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Rhizobium Studies
Publisher: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
Copyright: © Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) 2016
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