It was previously demonstrated that there are no indigenous strains of Bradyrhizobium japonicum forming nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbioses with soybean plants in arable field soils in Poland. However, bacteria currently classified within this species are present (together with Bradyrhizobium canariense) as indigenous populations of strains specific for nodulation of legumes in the Genisteae tribe. These rhizobia, infecting legumes such as lupins, are well established in Polish soils. The studies described here were based on soybean nodulation field experiments, established at the PoznańUniversity of Life Sciences Experiment Station in Gorzyń, Poland, and initiated in the spring of 1994. Long-term research was then conducted in order to study the relation between B. japonicum USDA 110 and USDA 123, introduced together into the same location, where no soybean rhizobia were earlier detected, and nodulation and competitive success were followed over time. Here we report the extra-long-term saprophytic survival of B. japonicum strains nodulating soybeans that were introduced as inoculants 20 years earlier and where soybeans were not grown for the next 17 years. The strains remained viable and symbiotically competent, and molecular and immunochemical methods showed that the strains were undistinguishable from the original inoculum strains USDA 110 and USDA 123. We also show that the strains had balanced numbers and their mobility in soil was low. To our knowledge, this is the first report showing the extra-long-term persistence of soybean-nodulating strains introduced into Polish soils and the first analyzing the long-term competitive relations of USDA 110 and USDA 123 after the two strains, neither of which was native, were introduced into the environment almost 2 decades ago.
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© 2015, American Society for Microbiology.