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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2003 Apr 1;43(3):411-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2003.tb01081.x.

Expression of nifH genes by diazotrophic bacteria in the rhizosphere of short form Spartina alterniflora.

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Marine Science Program, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


A diverse assemblage of diazotrophic bacteria exists in the rhizosphere of the smooth cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora, but the taxa actively involved in nitrogen fixation have not been determined. In order to identify the diazotrophs that were actively expressing nifH, the gene encoding the nitrogenase iron protein, mRNA was extracted from Spartina rhizosphere samples and nifH-specific seminested reverse transcriptase-PCR performed. Expressed nifH sequences were recovered from organisms affiliated with the (gamma-+beta-) Proteobacteria and the anaerobes. Most of the expressed nifH sequences were highly similar (>/=95% similarity) to sequences previously recovered from Spartina rhizosphere DNA using conventional nifH-specific PCR. These sequences were also similar, although not identical to the nifH sequences of Pseudomonas stutzeri, Vibrio diazotrophicus, Desulfovibrio africanus, and Desulfovibrio gigas.

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