Genetic Diversity and Symbiotic Efficiency of Indigenous Common Bean Rhizobia in Croatia.

Research paper by Ines I Pohajda, Katarina Huić KH Babić, Ivana I Rajnović, Sanja S Kajić, Sanja S Sikora

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Food Technology and Biotechnology


Nodule bacteria (rhizobia) in symbiotic associations with legumes enable considerable entries of biologically fixed nitrogen into soil. Efforts are therefore made to intensify the natural process of symbiotic nitrogen fixation by legume inoculation. Studies of field populations of rhizobia open up the possibility to preserve and probably exploit some indigenous strains with hidden symbiotic or ecological potentials. The main aim of the present study is to determine genetic diversity of common bean rhizobia isolated from different field sites in central Croatia and to evaluate their symbiotic efficiency and compatibility with host plants. The isolation procedure revealed that most soil samples contained no indigenous common bean rhizobia. The results indicate that the cropping history had a significant impact on the presence of indigenous strains. Although all isolates were found to belong to species Rhizobium leguminosarum, significant genetic diversity at the strain level was determined. Application of both random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus-polymerase chain reaction (ERIC- -PCR) methods resulted in similar grouping of strains. Symbiotic efficiency of indigenous rhizobia as well as their compatibility with two commonly grown bean varieties were tested in field experiments. Application of indigenous rhizobial strains as inoculants resulted in significantly different values of nodulation, seed yield as well as plant nitrogen and seed protein contents. The most abundant nodulation and the highest plant nitrogen and protein contents were determined in plants inoculated with R. leguminosarum strains S17/2 and S21/6. Although, in general, the inoculation had a positive impact on seed yield, differences depending on the applied strain were not determined. The overall results show the high degree of symbiotic efficiency of the specific indigenous strain S21/6. These results indicate different symbiotic potential of indigenous strains and confirmed the importance of rhizobial strain selection. These are the first studies of indigenous common bean rhizobia in Croatia that provide the basis for further characterization and selection of highly efficient indigenous strains and their potential use in agricultural practice and future research.