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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2005 Jan;28(1):57-65.

Prevalence of Burkholderia sp. nodule symbionts on four mimosoid legumes from Barro Colorado Island, Panama.

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Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000, USA.


Sequences of 16S rRNA and partial 23S rRNA genes and PCR assays with genotype-specific primers indicated that bacteria in the genus Burkholderia were the predominant root nodule symbionts for four mimosoid legumes (Mimosa pigra, M. casta, M. pudica, and Abarema macradenia) on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Among 51 isolates from these and a fifth mimosoid host (Pithecellobium hymenaeafolium), 44 were Burkholderia strains while the rest were placed in Rhizobium, Mesorhizobium, or Bradyrhizobium. The Burkholderia strains displayed four distinct rRNA sequence types, ranging from 89% to 97% similarity for 23S rRNA and 96.5-98.4% for 16S rRNA. The most common genotype comprised 53% of all isolates sampled and was associated with three legume host species. All Burkholderia genotypes formed nodules on Macroptilium atropurpureum or Mimosa pigra, and sequencing of rRNA genes in strains re-isolated from nodules verified identity with inoculant strains. Sequence analysis of the nitrogenase alpha-subunit gene (nifD) in two of the Burkholderia genotypes indicated that they were most similar to a partial sequence from the nodule-forming strain Burkholderia tuberum STM 678 from South Africa. In addition, a PCR screen with primers specific to Burkholderia nodB genes yielded the expected amplification product in most strains. Comparison of 16S rRNA and partial 23S rRNA phylogenies indicated that tree topologies were significantly incongruent. This implies that relationships across the rRNA region may have been altered by lateral gene transfer events in this Burkholderia population.

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