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Planta. 1986 Mar;167(3):303-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00391332.

Effects of sodium chloride and polyethylene glycol on root-hair infection and nodulation of Vicia faba L. plants by Rhizobium leguminosarum.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Dundee, DD1 4HN, Dundee, UK.


The effects of sodium chloride and polyethylene glycol (PEG) on the interaction between Rhizobium leguminosarum strain 29d and root hairs of field bean (Vicia faba L. cv. Maris Bead) plants were investigated. Two levels each of NaCl (50 and 100 mol·m(-3)) and PEG (100 and 200 mol·m(-3)) were given at the time of root-hair formation. Scanning electron microscopy showed rhizobial attachment and colonization on root-hair tips. Adhesion of rhizobia in both lateral and polar orientation, sometimes associated with microfibrils, occurred mainly in crooks at the root-hair tips; most of the infections also occurred here. Bacterial colonization and root-hair curling were both reduced by stress treatments. Polyethylene glycol but not NaCl significantly reduced root-hair diameter. The proportion of root hairs containing infection threads was reduced by 30% under NaCl and by 52% under PEG. The structure of some of the root hairs, epidermal and hypodermal cells, as seen by light microscopy in ultrasections, was distorted as a result of NaCl and PEG treatments; cells showed plasmolysis and folded membranes. After three weeks of treatment, both NaCl and PEG inhibited nodule number by about 50% and nodule weight by more than 60%. It is concluded that the root-hair infection process in Vicia faba is impaired by NaCl and PEG treatments and this in turn results in fewer nodules being produced.


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