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Nitrogen fixation by Rhizobium associated with tobacco and cowpea cell cultures


THE maxim that nitrogen fixation by the root nodule bacteria, Rhizobium, is restricted to a formal symbiotic association with specific legumes has recently been challenged. Trinick1 showed that nodules formed on the non-legume Trema canabina (previously identified as T. aspera; M. J. Trinick, personal communication) by a strain of Rhizobium which nodulated Vigna unguiculata (cowpea), possess nitrogenase activity and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Soybean tissue cultures inoculated with R. japonicum2–4, or with cowpea strains of rhizobia3, also possess apparently functional nitrogenase as determined by the acetylene reduction assay5. Several attempts have failed to demonstrate nitrogenase activity in cultured rhizobia6, including cowpea strains7.

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SCOWCROFT, W., GIBSON, A. Nitrogen fixation by Rhizobium associated with tobacco and cowpea cell cultures. Nature 253, 351–352 (1975).

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