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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2011 Jul;77(1):211-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2011.01102.x. Epub 2011 Apr 26.

Effect of on-field inoculation of Phaseolus vulgaris with rhizobia on soil bacterial communities.

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Laboratory of Legumes, Centre of Biotechnology of Borj-Cedria, Hammam-Lif, Tunisia.


The aim of this study was to assess the impact of inoculation of Phaseolus vulgaris with two indigenous rhizobia strains on plant growth promotion, nitrogen turnover processes, richness and structure of the Rhizobiaceae and total bacterial communities in the bulk soil. Both strains used induced a significant increase in nodulation and grain yield. Analysis of bulk soil fertility showed positive, negative and strain-dependent effects of inoculation on nitrate, phosphorus and ammonium, respectively. Terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism profiling demonstrated that inoculation significantly increased the phylotype richness of the bacterial communities. No significant difference in richness between the strains used and no additive effect of co-inoculation were observed. However, differences between both inoculants and a clear additive effect of co-inoculation on heterogeneity were found. This work gives original insights into the effect of rhizobial inoculation outside the restricted rhizospheric area. Effects on bacterial structure and diversity are clearly sensed in the neighbourhood of 25 cm and in a limited time course. Both Alpha- and Gammaproteobacteria, together with Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, were enhanced by inoculation, No evidence of terminal-restriction fragment inhibition was found. However, it remains to be answered how the impact on taxonomic groups can be related to effects on functional capabilities of soil microbial communities.

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