Inhibition of Nodule Bacteria by an Antibiotic from Legume Seed Coats

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THE loss of viability of Rhizobia on the surface of some legume seeds was described in early reports quoted by Fred, Baldwin and McCoy1 and more recently by other workers. Greenwood (personal communication) found that survival of Rhizobia was better when applied in a peat-pumice carrier than in a milk suspension, and suggested that the white clover (Trifolium repens) “seed surface may have a toxic effect on rhizobia”. Vincent2 showed that survival on glass beads was superior to that on subterranean clover (T. subterraneum) seed. Lobb3 suggested that an inhibitory substance may be present in lucerne (Medicago sativa) and white clover seed coats. However, in no case was it conclusively demonstrated whether reduced viability was due only to unsuitable physical conditions for survival or also to an inhibitory effect of the seed. Inhibition of organisms other than Rhizobia, by antibiotic substances in the seed of flowering plants, has been demonstrated by several workers4–6.

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  1. 1

    Fred, E. B., Baldwin, I. L., and McCoy, Elizabeth, “Root Nodule Bacteria and Leguminous Plants” (University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1932).

  2. 2

    Vincent, J. M., Proc. Univ. of Nottingham Fifth Easter School of Agric. Sci., 108 (Butterworths, London, 1959).

  3. 3

    Lobb, W. R., N.Z. J. Agric., 96, 556 (1958).

  4. 4

    Ferenczy, L., Acta Biol. Acad. Sci. Hung., 6, 317 (1956).

  5. 5

    Ark, P. A., and Thompson, J. P., Plant Dis. Rep., 42, 959 (1958).

  6. 6

    Maruzzella, J. C., and Freundlich, M., Nature, 187, 972 (1959).

  7. 7

    Osborn, E. M., and Harper, J. L., Nature, 167, 685 (1951).

  8. 8

    de Beer, E. J., and Sherwood, Marion B., J. Bact., 50, 459 (1945).

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THOMPSON, J. Inhibition of Nodule Bacteria by an Antibiotic from Legume Seed Coats. Nature 187, 619–620 (1960) doi:10.1038/187619a0

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