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Genetic diversity and symbiotic effectiveness of Phaseolus vulgaris -nodulating rhizobia in Kenya

Mwenda, G.M., O’Hara, G.W., De Meyer, S.E., Howieson, J.G. and Terpolilli, J.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-4306-3346 (2018) Genetic diversity and symbiotic effectiveness of Phaseolus vulgaris -nodulating rhizobia in Kenya. Systematic and Applied Microbiology, 41 (4). pp. 291-299.

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Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean) was introduced to Kenya several centuries ago but the rhizobia that nodulate it in the country remain poorly characterised. To address this gap in knowledge, 178 isolates recovered from the root nodules of P. vulgaris cultivated in Kenya were genotyped stepwise by the analysis of genomic DNA fingerprints, PCR-RFLP and 16S rRNA, atpD, recA and nodC gene sequences. Results indicated that P. vulgaris in Kenya is nodulated by at least six Rhizobium genospecies, with most of the isolates belonging to R. phaseoli and a possibly novel Rhizobium species. Infrequently, isolates belonged to R. paranaense, R. leucaenae, R. sophoriradicis and R. aegyptiacum. Despite considerable core-gene heterogeneity among the isolates, only four nodC gene alleles were observed indicating conservation within this gene. Testing of the capacity of the isolates to fix nitrogen (N2) in symbiosis with P. vulgaris revealed wide variations in effectiveness, with ten isolates comparable to R. tropici CIAT 899, a commercial inoculant strain for P. vulgaris. In addition to unveiling effective native rhizobial strains with potential as inoculants in Kenya, this study demonstrated that Kenyan soils harbour diverse P. vulgaris-nodulating rhizobia, some of which formed phylogenetic clusters distinct from known lineages. The native rhizobia differed by site, suggesting that field inoculation of P. vulgaris may need to be locally optimised.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Rhizobium Studies
Publisher: Elsevier GmbH.
Copyright: © 2018 The Author(s)
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