Lotus spp. are widely used as a forage to improve pastures, and inoculation with elite rhizobial strains is a common practice in many countries. However, only a few Lotus species have been studied in the context of plant-rhizobia interactions. In this study, forty highly diverse bacterial strains were isolated from root nodules of wild Lotus parviflorus plants growing in two field locations in Portugal. However, only 10% of these isolates could nodulate one or more legume hosts tested, whereas 90% were thought to be opportunistic nodule associated bacteria. Phylogenetic studies place the nodulating isolates within the Bradyrhizobium genus, which is closely related to B. canariense and other Bradyrhizobium sp. strains isolated from genistoid legumes and Ornithopus spp. Symbiotic nodC and nifH gene phylogenies were fully consistent with the taxonomic assignment and host range. The non-nodulating bacteria isolated were alpha-(Rhizobium/Agrobacterium), beta-(Massilia) and gamma-proteobacteria (Pseudomonas, Lysobacter, Luteibacter, Stenotrophomonas and Rahnella), as well as some bacteroidetes from genera Sphingobacterium and Mucilaginibacter. Some of these nodule-associated bacteria expressed plant growth promotion (PGP) traits, such as production of lytic enzymes, antagonistic activity against phytopathogens, phosphate solubilization, or siderophore production. This argues for a potential beneficial role of these L. parviflorus nodule-associated bacteria.
- Lotus parviflorus
- Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR)