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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2001 Jan;67(1):396-402.

Small-subunit rRNA genotyping of rhizobia nodulating Australian Acacia spp.

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Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia.


The structure of rhizobial communities nodulating Acacia in southeastern Australia from south Queensland to Tasmania was investigated by a molecular approach. A total of 118 isolates from nodule samples from 13 different Acacia species collected at 44 sites were characterized by small-subunit (SSU) ribosomal DNA (rDNA) PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Nine rhizobial genomospecies were identified, and these taxa corresponded to previously described genomospecies (B. Lafay and J. J. Burdon, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 64:3989-3997, 1998). Eight of these genomospecies belonged to the Bradyrhizobium lineage and accounted for 96.6% of the isolates. The remaining genomospecies corresponded to Rhizobium tropici. For analysis of geographic patterns, results were grouped into five latitudinal regions regardless of host origin. In each region, as observed previously for rhizobial isolates taken from non-Acacia legumes (Lafay and Burdon, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 64:3989-3997, 1998), rhizobial communities were dominated by one or two genomospecies, the identities of which varied from place to place. Despite this similarity in patterns, the most abundant genomospecies for Acacia isolates differed from the genomospecies found in the non-Acacia-derived rhizobial collection, suggesting that there is a difference in nodulation patterns of the Mimosoideae and the Papilionoideae. Only two genomospecies were both widespread and relatively abundant across the range of sites sampled. Genomospecies A was found in all regions except the most northern sites located in Queensland, whereas genomospecies B was not detected in Tasmania. This suggests that genomospecies A might be restricted to the more temperate regions of Australia, whereas in contrast, genomospecies B occurs in different climatic and edaphic conditions across the whole continent. The latter hypothesis is supported by the presence of genomospecies B in southwestern Australia, based on partial SSU rDNA sequence data (N. D. S. Marsudi, A. R. Glenn, and M. J. Dilworth, Soil Biol. Biochem. 31:1229-1238, 1998).

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