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The genetic diversity of rhizobia associated with Dalea purpurea Vent. in fragmented grasslands of west-central Minnesota

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The increase in human population and the spread of agriculture over the past 150 years have transformed the landscape in west-central Minnesota into a mosaic of agricultural fields and urban land, leaving only remnants of the once dominant prairie ecosystem. Limited natural habitat in this fragmented landscape threatens the diversity and abundance of native legumes and could impact the size and function of associated belowground microbial populations. In this study, BOXA1R PCR and 16S rRNA gene sequence analyses were used to assess the genetic diversity of rhizobia associated with Dalea purpurea (Vent.) in nine prairie remnants ranging in size from 0.04 to 3.5 ha. The variation in soil properties was also determined. While 53 different genotypes of rhizobia were identified, four of these accounted for 84% of the 1029 rhizobia characterized using BOXA1R PCR. Representatives from three of the four dominant genotypes had a 16S rRNA gene sequence similar to that of Rhizobium gallicum, with two of these genotypes recovered at all sites. The fourth genotype was similar to that of Rhizobium etli and occurred with frequency at only two sites. Rhizobium genotype richness and site area were positively correlated. The implications of these results are discussed.

Keywords: Dalea; Rhizobium; biogeography; biogéographie; diversity; diversité; fragmentation; légumineuse des prairies; prairie legumes

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2007

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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