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Biserrula pelecinus L. is a promising forage legume for the central Ethiopian highlands

Bekuma, A.A., Terpolilli, J.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-4306-3346, Tiwari, R.P.ORCID: 0000-0003-3354-770X, O'Hara, G.W. and Howieson, J.G. (2021) Biserrula pelecinus L. is a promising forage legume for the central Ethiopian highlands. Grass and Forage Science, 76 . pp. 105-115.

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The availability of effective inoculant rhizobia is often critical to the successful development of productive forage legumes. Biserrula pelecinus L. is a legume with potential as forage in Ethiopia to improve livestock feed quality and soil fertility. B. pelecinus can form N2‐fixing symbiosis with rhizobia in the genus Mesorhizobium. This study investigated the N2 fixation effectiveness of 15 B. pelecinus‐nodulating Mesorhizobium strains on two subspecies of B. pelecinus (B. pelecinus ssp. leiocarpa, native to Ethiopia, and the introduced B. pelecinus ssp. pelecinus). The most effective strain (WSM3873) on both subspecies was assessed at two sites; one with pre‐existing populations of B. pelecinus‐nodulating rhizobia (Modjo), and one without (Holeta). No inoculation response was observed at Modjo when B. pelecinus ssp. pelecinus was inoculated with WSM3873 alone, however, biomass yield was greatest (11.5 tonne DM/ha) following inoculation along with co‐application of phosphorus and nitrogen. At Holeta, a strong inoculation response was achieved with WSM3873 alone on B. pelecinus ssp. pelecinus. In contrast, B. pelecinus ssp. leiocarpa did not show any response at Modjo and failed to emerge after sowing at Holeta. While the native legume B. pelecinus ssp. leiocarpa appears poorly suited to development as a forage, B. pelecinus ssp. pelecinus and WSM3873 represents a promising legume‐rhizobia symbiosis that could benefit farming systems of the central Ethiopian highlands.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Rhizobium Studies
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: © 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
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