Organic dry bean production systems have received increasing interest in many regions of the US, including Minnesota. Thus, improving biological N2 fixation would be highly beneficial for organic crop production. To date, only limited work has been done to select efficient N2-fixing rhizobia for organic dry bean production. In this study, soil samples from 25 organic fields in Minnesota, with a previous cropping history of dry beans, soybeans or both, were collected during May to July 2012. Genetic diversity of indigenous dry bean-rhizobia (511 isolates) was determined by using horizontal, fluorophore-enhanced, repetitive, extragenic, and palindromic-PCR (HFERP) DNA fingerprinting and isolates were classified as belonging to 58 different genotypes. The more abundant rhizobia isolated from bean nodules comprised 35.6% of the population. None of the isolates were identical to commonly-used commercial strains used in the U.S., including Rhizobium tropici CIAT899. Seventeen predominant genotypes were shown to represent two main species, Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. phaseoli (67.1%) and Rhizobium etli (30.2%). One of the indigenous strains, orgK9, displayed efficient N2-fixation and competitive ability relative to the commercial strains tested. The lack of large numbers of indigenous dry bean-rhizobia at most study sites will be useful to avoid competition problems between inoculant strains and indigenous rhizobia. This will allow inoculation with highly effective N2-fixing rhizobia, thus resulting in improved crop productivity. Our results highlight the existence of site-specific rhizobial genotypes in different organic fields and identify strains that may prove useful as novel inoculants for organic dry bean production systems.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This material is based upon work that was supported, in part, by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2011-51300-30743.
- Dry beans
- Genetic diversity
- N-Fixation efficiency
- Organic farms
- Phaseolus vulgaris