Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus, Vol 84, No 4 (2019)

Selection of Stress Tolerant Indigenous Rhizobia Nodulating Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)


Pages: 365-370


Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is a very important forage crop, which forms a symbiotic relationship with nodule bacterium Sinorhizobum meliloti. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the stress tolerance of indigenous S. meliloti strains to adverse environmental conditions. Twenty rhizobial strains, isolated from different regions in Croatia, were phenotypically characterized to assess diversity amongst natural field population. The growth of the strains was studied at different pH values, temperatures, carbohydrate sources and different concentrations of NaCl. The results showed that most of the strains can grow at temperatures higher than optimal and that strains tolerate both acidic and alkaline environment. It was found that indigenous strains can tolerate extremely high concentrations of NaCl. Most strains possess the enzyme urease while only a small number of them possess the enzyme catalase. The results showed that all indigenous strains belonged to the group of fast-growing rhizobia and that they were more tolerant to the antibiotics tested in comparison to the reference S. meliloti strain. Better understanding of rhizobial response to adverse environmental conditions is of important value for improving rhizobial inoculants and efficiency of symbiotic nitrogen fixation.


biological nitrogen fixation, phenotypic characterization, alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), Sinorhizobium meliloti

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