Genetic Factors in Rhizobium Affecting the Symbiotic Carbon Costs of N2 Fixation and Host Plant Biomass Production

L. Skøt, P. R. Hirsch, J. F. Witty

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    The effect of genetic factors in Rhizobium on host plant biomass production and on the carbon costs of N2 fixation in pea root nodules was studied. Nine strains of Rhizobium leguminosarum were constructed, each containing one of three symbiotic plasmids in combination with one of three different genomic backgrounds. The resulting strains were tested in symbiosis with plants of Pisum sativum using a flow-through apparatus in which nodule nitrogenase activity and respiration were measured simultaneously under steady state conditions. Nodules formed by strains containing the background of JI6015 had the lowest carbon costs of N2 fixation (7.10–8.10 μmol C/μmol N2), but shoot dry weight of those plants was also smaller than that of plants nodulated by strains with the background of B151 or JI8400. Nodules formed by these two strain types had carbon costs of N2 fixation varying between 11.26 and 13.95 μmol C/μmol N2. The effect of symbiotic plasmids on the carbon costs was relatively small. A time-course experiment demonstrated that nodules formed by a strain derived from JI6015 were delayed in the onset of nitrogenase activity and had a lower rate of activity compared to nodules induced by a strain with the background of B151. The relationship between nitrogenase activity, carbon costs of N2 fixation and host plant biomass production is discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Applied Bacteriology
    Volume61
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)239-246
    ISSN0021-8847
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1986

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