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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1994 Feb;60(2):408-15.

Serological and Ecological Characteristics of a Nodule-Dominant Serotype from an Indigenous Soil Population of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii.

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Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331-3804.


Although at least 13 antigenically distinct serotypes of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii exist in an Abiqua silty clay loam soil, one serotype, AS6, occupies >/=50% of the root nodules formed on field-grown subclover and between 33 and 78% of the nodules formed on five annual clover species grown in the same soil under laboratory conditions. The dominance of subclover nodules by serotype AS6 was reproducible over a 4-year sampling period and throughout the entire 200- by 100-m pasture examined. Serotype AS6 was composed of three antigenically distinct subtypes (AS6-a, AS6-b, and AS6-c). Each subtype contributed about one-third of the AS6 isolates recovered from nodules of field-grown subclover plants and maintained similar population densities in nonrhizosphere and rhizosphere soil. Rhizobia with the AS6 antigenic signature accounted for from 20 to 100% of the soil populations of R. leguminosarum in arable and pasture soils under legumes throughout the state of Oregon. Over a 12-month period, the population densities of the serotype AS6 complex and three minor nodule-occupying serotypes (AG4, AP17, and AS21) were measured in the rhizospheres of field-grown subclover and orchard grass and in nonrhizosphere Abiqua soil. Regardless of season or serotype, the orchard grass rhizosphere effect was minimal, with the ratio between rhizosphere and nonrhizosphere serotype population densities ranging between 2.5 (midsummer) and 10.5 (spring). In contrast, the magnitude of the subclover rhizosphere effect varied seasonally and among serotypes. Between October and December the ratios for all serotypes were similar (12.5 to 25.5). However, in the spring (April and May), the magnitude of the rhizosphere effect varied among the indigenous serotypes (ratios, 10.5 to 442) and for minor nodule-occupying serotypes AS21 (ratio, 442) and AP17 (ratio, 47) was as great as, or even greater than, the magnitude of the rhizosphere effect observed with the AS6 complex (ratio, 65.5).

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