Molecular characterisation of the diazotrophic bacterial community in uninoculated and inoculated field-grown sugarcane (Saccharum sp.)
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To identify active diazotrophs in sugarcane, 16S rRNA and nifH transcript analyses were applied. This should help to better understand the basis of the biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) activity of a high nitrogen fixing sugarcane variety. A field experiment using the sugarcane variety RB 867515 was conducted in Seropédica, RJ, Brazil, receiving the following treatments: unfertilised and fertilised controls without inoculation, unfertilised with inoculation. The five-strain mixture developed by EMBRAPA-CNPAB was used as inoculum. Root and leaf sheath samples were harvested in the third year of cultivation to analyse the 16S rRNA and nifH transcript diversity. In addition to nifH expression from Gluconacetobacter spp. and Burkholderia spp., a wide diversity of nifH sequences from previously uncharacterised Ideonella/Herbaspirillum related phylotypes in sugarcane shoots as well as Bradyrhizobium sp. and Rhizobium sp. in roots was found. These results were confirmed using 16S cDNA analysis. From the inoculated bacteria, only nifH transcripts from G. diazotrophicus and B. tropica were detected in leaf sheaths and roots. Known as well as yet uncultivated diazotrophs were found active in sugarcane roots and stems using molecular analyses. Two strains of the inoculum mix were identified at the late summer harvest.
KeywordsSugarcane (Saccharum sp.) Biological nitrogen fixation Molecular community analysis nifH transcripts 16S ribosomal RNA
Financial support from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Grant Ha 1708/9), EMBRAPA and the Helmholtz Zentrum München is greatly acknowledged. Financial support came also from INCT/CNPq (proc. no 573828/2008-3) and CT-AGRO (proc. no 480178/2005-4) projects for the fellowship.
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