Indexed on: 04 Jun '10Published on: 04 Jun '10Published in: Journal of experimental botany
Numerous leguminous species are used or have potential uses for timber production, pharmacological products, or land reclamation. Through N(2)-fixation, many leguminous trees contribute to the N-balance of tropical wetlands and rainforests. Therefore, studies of the N(2)-fixation ability of leguminous species appear to be crucial for the better use and conservation of these resources. The global nodulation inventory in the Leguminosae family is constantly being enriched with new records, suggesting the existence of undiscovered nodulated species, especially in tropical natural ecosystems and other hot spots of biodiversity. In this respect, the nodulation of leguminous species from the Amazonian forest of Porto Trombetas (Brazil) was surveyed. Overall, 199 leguminous species from flooded and non-flooded areas, were examined for their nodulation status by combining field observations, seedling inoculations, and screening of N(2)-fixing bacterial strains from the collected nodules. The results revealed a tendency for a higher relative frequency of nodulation in the species from the flooded areas (74%) compared with those from the non-flooded areas (67%). Nodulation was observed in the Caesalpinioideae, Mimosoideae, and Papilionoideae, with 25, 88, and 84% of the examined species in each subfamily, respectively. Of the 137 nodulated leguminous species, 32 including three Caesalpinoideae, 19 Mimosoideae, and 10 Papilionoideae are new records. One new nodulated genus (Cymbosema) was found in the Papilionoideae. Twelve non-nodulating leguminous species were also observed for the first time. The results are discussed based on the systematics of the Leguminosae family and the influence of available nutrients to the legume-bacteria symbiosis.