Author(s): Lennox LB, Alexander M
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Abstract The number and weight of pods and the weight and nitrogen content of the tops of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) derived from seeds inoculated with a thiram-resistant strain of Rhizobium phaseoli were increased if the seeds were treated with thiram before sowing in soil. A greater percentage of the nodules on 21-day-old plants were derived from the resistant strain, more nodules were formed, and these nodules were more effective in the presence of the fungicide than in its absence. These differences in nodule numbers were no longer present in 56-day-old plants, and only a small percentage of the nodules contained the resistant strain. The abundance of the fungicide-tolerant R. phaseoli increased rapidly soon after planting the seed and subsequently fell markedly, but the rate of decline was less if the seeds had been treated with the chemical. Protozoa also proliferated if thiram had not been applied to the seed, but their numbers were deleteriously influenced by thiram. Bdellovibrio, bacteriophages, and lytic micro-organisms acting on R. phaseoli were rare under these conditions. Ciliates and flagellated protozoa were initially suppressed by planting thiram-coated bean seeds in nonsterile soil, but the former were inhibited longer than the latter and the ciliate numbers never fully recovered if the seeds were treated with the fungicide. The resistant strain grew well in sterile soil also inoculated with a protozoa-free mixture of soil microorganisms whether thiram was added or not, but after an initial rise in numbers, its abundance fell if the mixture contained protozoa; the rate of this fall was delayed by the fungicide. The numbers of R. phaseoli were consistently less in sterile soil inoculated with the rhizobium plus a mixture of soil microorganisms containing ciliates and other protozoa than if the inoculum contained other protozoa but no ciliates. These results suggest that a suppression of protozoa, and possibly especially the ciliates, accounts for the enhanced growth of beans and the greater initial frequency of nodules formed by the thiram-resistant R. phaseoli in the presence of this fungicide. Thiram applied to uninoculated seed enhanced bean growth if thiram-resistant R. phaseoli were present in soil.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation