Compatible rhizobia strains are essential for nodulation and biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) of hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth, HV). We evaluated how past HV cultivation affected nodulation and BNF across host genotypes. Five groups of similar HV genotypes were inoculated with soil dilutions from six paired fields, three with 10-year HV cultivation history (HV+) and three with no history (HV-), and used to determine efficiency of rhizobia nodulation and BNF. Nodulation was equated to nodule number and mass, BNF to plant N and Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viceae (Rlv) soil cell counts using qPCR to generate an amplicon of targeted Rlv nodD genes. Both HV cultivation history and genotype affected BNF parameters. Plants inoculated with HV+ soil dilutions averaged 60 and 70 % greater nodule number and mass, respectively. Such plants also had greater biomass and tissue N than those inoculated with HV- soil. Plant biomass and tissue N were strongly correlated to nodule mass (r 2 = 0.80 and 0.50, respectively), while correlations to nodule number were low (r 2 = 0.50 and 0.31, respectively). Although hairy vetch rhizobia occur naturally in soils, past cultivation of HV was shown in this study to enhance nodulation gene-carrying Rlv population size and/or efficiency of rhizobia capable of nodulation and N fixation.
- Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF)
- Hairy vetch
- Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae (Rlv)