Pseudomonas spp. Isolated from Soybean Nodules Promote Soybean Growth and Nitrogen Fixation

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Virginia Tech


Nitrogen-fixing bacteria in soybean nodules convert atmospheric nitrogen to plant-available forms in exchange for carbon from the plant, but other non-nitrogen-fixing bacteria also reside in nodules, and their role in the nodule is not well understood. This study was conducted to determine the effect of three non-nitrogen-fixing Pseudomonas spp. strains isolated from nodules on soybean, and we hypothesized these strains benefit soybean. A greenhouse study in which two cultivars of soybean (Asgrow AG46X6 and Pioneer P48A60X) were treated with three fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. strains (referred to in this study as Bullseye, Pancake, and Starfish) and an uninoculated control. Soybeans were harvested at two time points: the R2/R3 growth stage and the R6 growth stage. Following each harvest, measures of growth, yield, and nitrogen fixation were taken, and data were analyzed using two non-parametric, multivariate analyses: multiple response permutation procedure (MRPP) and permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA). Both analyses showed soybeans of both cultivars treated with Pancake differed from controls following the first harvest but not the second. When analyzed individually, most metrics for growth, yield, and nitrogen fixation following the first harvest were not significantly different between Pancake and control treatments, but Pancake treatment means were still generally higher than controls. If metrics are considered collectively in conjunction with the results of the multivariate analyses, the results show Pancake generally increased soybean growth and nitrogen fixation. These findings support the hypothesis that non-nitrogen-fixing bacteria from nodules benefit plants, and such bacteria have the potential to serve as biofertilizers.



Soybean, Pseudomonas spp., Bradyrhizobium spp., Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR), Nodules, Nitrogen Fixation (NF), Growth, Multivariate Analysis, Multiple Response Permutation Procedure (MRPP), Permutational Multivariate Analysis of Varian