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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Colony variation in Sinorhizobium meliloti inoculant strain U 45.

A culture of Sinorhizobium meliloti strain U 45, maintained on yeast extract-mannitol (YM) agar, produced a mixture of Congo red-absorbing (R1) and non-absorbing (W1) colonies when grown on YM medium containing Congo red. The original freeze-dried (FD) culture formed gummy (G), white (W2) and small red (R2) colony types on the above medium. All colonies were stable except G, which segregated into G and W2-like types. Immune diffusion patterns of all colony types were identical. The W1 colony type dominated R1 when a 1:1 combination was sub-cultured on YM agar. The parent cultures and their variants exhibited a range of N2-fixing effectiveness and competitiveness when inoculated onto two cultivars of Medicago sativa. Variant R2 from the FD culture was ineffective on both cultivars. Genomic DNA fingerprinting with insertion elements ISRm3 and ISRm2011-2 suggested that transposition of these elements was not a cause of variation, but a DNA band was absent in the profiles of two out of three W2-like colonies. Protein profile comparisons showed high similarity (r = 0.98) between the colony types when grown in YM broth. When grown on Tryptone-Yeast extract medium, variants from the FD and agar-maintained cultures formed separate clusters with r = 0.79. Polymerase chain reaction fingerprinting using repetitive, site-directed and arbitrary primers failed to differentiate the variants. The results emphasize the need to monitor culture variability to maintain the quality of legume inoculants.[1]


  1. Colony variation in Sinorhizobium meliloti inoculant strain U 45. Bloem, J.F., Botha, W.J., Law, I.J., Steyn, P.L. Microbiol. Res. (2002) [Pubmed]
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