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Plant Physiol. 1987 Mar;83(3):535-40.

Uptake and Metabolism of Carbohydrates by Bradyrhizobium japonicum Bacteroids.

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Department of Agronomy, The Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio 44691.


Bradyrhizobium japonicum bacteroids were isolated anaerobically and were supplied with (14)C-labeled trehalose, sucrose, UDP-glucose, glucose, or fructose under low O(2) (2% in the gas phase). Uptake and conversion of (14)C to CO(2) were measured at intervals up to 90 minutes. Of the five compounds studied, UDP-glucose was most rapidly absorbed but it was very slowly metabolized. Trehalose was the sugar most rapidly converted to CO(2), and fructose was respired at a rate at least double that of glucose. Sucrose and glucose were converted to CO(2) at a very low but measurable rate (<0.1 nanomoles per milligram protein per hour). Carbon Number 1 of glucose appeared in CO(2) at a rate 30 times greater than the conversion of carbon Number 6 to CO(2), indicating high activity of the pentose phosphate pathway. Enzymes of the Entner-Doudoroff pathway were not detected in bacteroids, but very low activities of sucrose synthase and phosphofructokinase were demonstrated. Although metabolism of sugars by B. japonicum bacteroids was clearly demonstrated, the rate of sugar uptake was only 1/30 to 1/50 the rate of succinate uptake. The overall results support the view that, although bacteroids metabolize sugars, the rates are very low and are inadequate to support nitrogenase.

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