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Microbiologia. 1991 Jun;7(1):13-22.

Isolation and characterization of Rhizobium meliloti mutants affected in exopolysaccharide production.

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Departamento de Microbiología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Sevilla.


Rhizobium meliloti mutants affected in the production of exopolysaccharide (EPS) were isolated after N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine mutagenesis. The mutants were classified into three phenotypic classes: (I) Exo-, rough mutants lacking exopolysaccharide; (II) Exos (for "small") which form tiny, compact colonies and synthesize reduced amounts of EPS; and (III) Exoc (for "constitutive"), hypermucoid mutants which overproduce EPS. Hypermucoid strains showed increased resistance to desiccation. All the mutants were able to nodulate, although a significant decrease in infectivity degree and/or competitiveness was found in rough and compact strains. Two mutants proved to be deficient in nitrogen fixation. Complementation analysis with cloned R. meliloti exo genes could not be applied to the study of these Fix- mutants because introduction of plasmids derived from cosmid vector pLAFR1 caused loss of nodulating ability. However, complementation of calcofluor staining and EPS production was observed. Complementation with certain exo genes also caused a marked increase in motility.

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