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Characterization of rhizobia from Sesbania species native to seasonally wetland areas in Uruguay

Rodríguez Blanco, Andrea, Csukasi, Fabiana, Abreu, Cecilia, Sicardi, Margarita
Biology and fertility of soils 2008 v.44 no.7 pp. 925-932
Azorhizobium, DNA fingerprinting, Dalea purpurea, Desmanthus illinoensis, Rhizobium etli, Sesbania punicea, biomass, dry matter accumulation, growth chambers, habitats, host range, indigenous species, microsymbionts, ribosomal RNA, wetlands, Uruguay
Naturally growing Sesbania species with tolerance to unfavourable habitats are widely distributed in non-cultivated seasonally wetland areas in Uruguay. We investigated the relative abundance, diversity and symbiotic efficiency of Sesbania punicea and S. virgata rhizobia in three ecologically different undisturbed and water-logged sites in Uruguay. Numbers of native-soil rhizobia infective on S. punicea or S. virgata were low, with higher numbers associated with the presence of S. virgata. Plants of S. virgata inoculated with soil suspension showed aerial and nodule biomass greater than that obtained with S. punicea. The rhizobia nodulating Sesbania species in water-logged lands in different regions of Uruguay were diverse differing in growth rates, acid production, growth at 39°C and in LB medium, host range and symbiotic efficiency. Seventeen representative strains clustered into four groups on the basis of phenotypic characteristics, ARDRA and DNA fingerprinting (GTG₅-PCR). Partial sequence of 16S rRNA from eight of these strains classified them into at least two genera with four species: Azorhizobium doebereinerae, Rhizobium sp. related to R. etli and two different Rhizobium sp.-Agrobacterium. Our results confirm the presence of the specie Azorhizobium doebereinerae as microsymbionts of S. virgata in South America. No strain of Rhizobium etli has previously been reported as a microsymbiont of Sesbania, though R. etli like organisms have also been recovered from Dalea purpurea and Desmanthus illinoensis. Significant increases in dry matter production were obtained with S. virgata plants inoculated with selected rhizobial strains under growth chamber conditions.