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Old 09-16-2014, 11:26 AM   #1
A Bee's Best Friend
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago Illinois USA
Default Prairie legumes and rhizobia

It appears diversity exists in even the bacteria that produce the nodules on roots of legumes.
These nodules fix nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil for use by the plant and the bacteria.
But it appears different rhizobia are necessary for different legumes .
Many soils in old fields or along roads are devoid of the necessary rhizobia and only a few rhizobia are hardy enough to survive the arid salty conditions alongside roadways.
Agriculture has found and produced abundant market supplies for crops but native plant needs are too diverse and do not generate enough money to inspire research. It is a quandary.

Information here.


Nitrogen is a limited nutrient in many natural environments (Seastedt and Knapp, 1993),
with nitrogen fixation critical for plant development and the maintenance of diversity. At the
other extreme, over fertilization with N or N deposition can reduce the diversity of slower
growing plant species in such systems, and favor invasion (Weiss, 1999; Baer et al., 2003;
Blumenthal et al., 2003; Suguenza et al., 2006; Britton et al., 2007; Gendron and Wilson, 2007).
Because of their ability to nodulate and fix nitrogen in symbiosis with soil bacteria known
commonly as rhizobia, and to meter fixed N to associated non-nitrogen fixing species, legumes
have long been recognized for their contribution of nitrogen to natural ecosystems (Fred et al.,
1932: Wild; 1988; Spehn et al., 2002; van der Heijden et al., 2006). For this reason, a number of
indigenous legumes are included in MNDOT roadside revegetation and wetland reconstruction
plant mixes. These include Amorpha canescens, Astragalus canadensis, Chamaecrista
fasciculata, Dalea purpurea and D. candida, Desmodium canadense and Lespedeza capitata.
The main goal of this project was to compare different methods of inoculation proposed
for use with prairie legumes, and to follow the effects of such inoculation on legume composition
and prairie development over time. We wanted also to determine the influence of inoculation on
soil properties, particularly those related to soil quality, and to follow the rate of recovery of the
inoculant rhizobia from soil and rhizosphere. The use of winter wheat as a surrogate host for
rhizobia, allowing greater numbers of rhizobia to be applied, and providing rhizosphere habitat
for the rhizobia until the germination of their legume hosts, is emphasized in this study. This
approach has been suggested before for agricultural situations (Diatloff, 1969) but rarely made
sense where there was no impediment to nodulation of the subsequently seeded legume. Earlier
studies in the Rhizobium Research Laboratory (T. Doan and P. Graham, unpublished) suggested
that this approach could have value in the prairie environment given the unique challenges to
rhizobial survival and establishment
"Half Earth Quest" Edward O. Wilson

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legumes, prairie, rhizobia

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