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Scientia Agricola

On-line version ISSN 1678-992X

Abstract

SOARES, Bruno Lima et al. Cowpea symbiotic efficiency, pH and aluminum tolerance in nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2014, vol.71, n.3, pp.171-180. ISSN 1678-992X.  https://doi.org/10.1590/S0103-90162014000300001.

Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) cultivation in northern and northeastern Brazil provides an excellent source of nutrients and carbohydrates for the poor and underprivileged. Production surplus leads to its consumption in other regions of Brazil and also as an export commodity. Its capacity to establish relationships with atmospheric nitrogen-fixing bacteria is crucial to the reduction of production costs and the environmental impact of nitrogen fertilizers. This study assessed the symbiotic efficiency of new strains of symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria with cowpea and their tolerance to pH and aluminum. Twenty-seven strains of bacteria from different soils were evaluated under axenic conditions. These strains were compared to the following inoculant strains: INPA03-11B, UFLA03-84 and BR3267 and two controls that were not inoculated (with and without mineral nitrogen). Six strains and the three strains approved as inoculants were selected to increase the dry weight production of the aerial part (DWAP) and were tested in pots with soil that had a high-density of nitrogen-fixing native rhizobia. In this experiment, three strains (UFLA03-164, UFLA03-153, and UFLA03-154) yielded higher DWAP values. These strains grow at pH levels of 5.0, 6.0, 6.8 and at high aluminum concentration levels, reaching 109 CFU mL-1. In particular UFLA03-84, UFLA03-153, and UFLA03-164 tolerate up to 20 mmolc dm-3 of Al+3. Inoculation with rhizobial strains, that had been carefully selected according to their ability to nodulate and fix N2, combined with their ability to compete in soils that are acidic and contain high levels of Al, is a cheaper and more sustainable alternative that can be made available to farmers than mineral fertilizers.

Keywords : Vigna unguiculata; Bradyrhizobium; Burkholderia; Native rhizobia.

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