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J Exp Bot. 2001 Jul;52(360):1537-43.

Specific flavonoids induced nod gene expression and pre-activated nod genes of Rhizobium leguminosarum increased pea (Pisum sativum L.) and lentil (Lens culinaris L.) nodulation in controlled growth chamber environments.

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BIOS Agriculture Inc. 21,111 Lakeshore Road, Ste Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, Canada H9X 3V9.


The gram-negative soil bacteria Rhizobium spp. infect and establish a nitrogen-fixing symbiosis with legume crops which involves the mutual exchange of diffusable signal molecules. In this study, Rhizobium leguminosarum containing a nod-lacZ gene fusion was used to screen the most effective plant-to-bacteria signal molecules for pea and lentil and the induction conditions. Out of a number of signal compounds including apigenin, daidzein, genistein, hesperetin, kaempferol, luteolin, naringenin, and rutin, hesperetin and naringenin were found to be the most effective plant-to-bacteria signal molecules. The induction of nod genes was temperature-dependent, where nod gene induction was decreased with dropping incubation temperature. The combination of hesperetin at 7 microM and naringenin at 3 microM resulted in better induction of nod gene activities compared to either hesperetin or naringenin alone. Nodulation and plant dry matter accumulation of pea and lentil plants receiving preinduced R. leguminosarum were higher than those of plants receiving uninduced R. leguminosarum cells in controlled environment growth chamber conditions. Preinduced Rhizobium with hesperetin at a concentration of 10 microM increased nodule number on average by 60.5% and dry matter accumulation by 14% in field pea at 17 degrees C, while it was 32% and 9% at 24 degrees C, respectively. Similarly, averaged over two rhizobial strains, a 59% and 6% increase in nodule number and biomass production at 17 degrees C, and a 39% and 27% at 24 degrees C, were obtained from lentil inoculated with hesperetin-induced R. leguminosarum, respectively.

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