Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
On-line version ISSN 1806-9657
MARTINS, Adriana Ferreira et al. Genetic diversity, tolerance to acidity factors and symbiotic efficiency of rhizobia of birdsfoot trefoil in soils of Rio Grande do Sul. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo [online]. 2011, vol.35, n.6, pp.1855-1864. ISSN 1806-9657. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-06832011000600002.
Birdsfoot trefoil is a perennial winter-spring forage legume, highly important in Rio Grande do Sul, in the south of Brazil. It stands out for the ability to survive in relatively acidic and nutrient-poor soils. This study aimed to select birdsfoot trefoil rhizobial strains with tolerance to acidity and aluminum toxicity and efficiency in nitrogen fixation in nutrient-poor soils. Fifty-two isolates of Lotus spp rhizobia from soils of five locations in the state of Rio Grande do Sul were evaluated. The strains were evaluated for genetic diversity and tolerance to pH 4.2 and to aluminum toxicity. Of the acid-tolerant rhizobia, seven were evaluated for symbiotic efficiency in plants grown in pots with non-sterile soil, in a greenhouse experiment. Genetic diversity in the studied rhizobia was high and 16 were tolerant to pH 4.2 and to 50 µM Al in media broth, reaching populations from 107 up to 108 CFU mL-1. The seven rhizobia tested in the greenhouse performed better than the strains recommended for inoculant production, demonstrating the existence of rhizobia tolerant to soil acidity and efficient in nitrogen fixation on birdsfoot trefoil plants in soils of Rio Grande do Sul.
Keywords : polymerase chain reaction; low pH; aluminum; biological nitrogen fixation.