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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2011 Jul;34(5):376-84. doi: 10.1016/j.syapm.2011.03.003. Epub 2011 Apr 30.

Genetic diversity of symbiotic Bradyrhizobium elkanii populations recovered from inoculated and non-inoculated Acacia mangium field trials in Brazil.

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CIRAD, Laboratoire des Symbioses Tropicales & Méditerranéennes, Montpellier, France.


Acacia mangium is a legume tree native to Australasia. Since the eighties, it has been introduced into many tropical countries, especially in a context of industrial plantations. Many field trials have been set up to test the effects of controlled inoculation with selected symbiotic bacteria versus natural colonization with indigenous strains. In the introduction areas, A. mangium trees spontaneously nodulate with local and often ineffective bacteria. When inoculated, the persistence of inoculants and possible genetic recombination with local strains remain to be explored. The aim of this study was to describe the genetic diversity of bacteria spontaneously nodulating A. mangium in Brazil and to evaluate the persistence of selected strains used as inoculants. Three different sites, several hundred kilometers apart, were studied, with inoculated and non-inoculated plots in two of them. Seventy-nine strains were isolated from nodules and sequenced on three housekeeping genes (glnII, dnaK and recA) and one symbiotic gene (nodA). All but one of the strains belonged to the Bradyrhizobium elkanii species. A single case of housekeeping gene transfer was detected among the 79 strains, suggesting an extremely low rate of recombination within B. elkanii, whereas the nodulation gene nodA was found to be frequently transferred. The fate of the inoculant strains varied depending on the site, with a complete disappearance in one case, and persistence in another. We compared our results with the sister species Bradyrhizobium japonicum, both in terms of population genetics and inoculant strain destiny.

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