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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Jun;66(6):2445-50.

Higher diversity of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae populations in arable soils than in grass soils.

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Department of Biology, University of York, York, United Kingdom.


The bacterial genetic diversity after long-term arable cultivation was compared with that under permanent grassland using replicated paired contrasts. Pea-nodulating Rhizobium leguminosarum populations were sampled from pairs of arable and grass sites at four locations in Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Isolates were characterized using both chromosomal (16S-23S ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism) and plasmid (group-specific repC PCR amplification) markers. The diversities of chromosomal types, repC profiles, and combined genotypes were calculated using richness in types (adjusted to equal sample sizes by rarefaction), Shannon-Wiener index, and Simpson's index. The relative differences in diversity within each pair of sites were similar for all three diversity measures. Chromosomal types, repC profiles, and combined genotypes were each more diverse in arable soils than in grass soils at two of the four locations. The other comparisons showed no significant differences. We conclude that rhizobial diversity can be affected by differences between these two management regimens. Multiple regression analyses indicated that lower diversity was associated with high potential nitrogen and phosphate levels or with acidity.

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