Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 35142840
Link to DOI – 10.1093/femsec/fiac014
FEMS Microbiol Ecol 2022 Mar; 98(2):
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn.), is an extensively cultivated legume crop used as a herb, spice, and traditional medicine in India. The symbiotic efficiency and plant growth-promoting potential of fenugreek rhizobia depend on the symbiont strain and environmental factors. We isolated 176 root-nodulating bacteria from fenugreek cultivated in different agroclimatic regions of India. MALDI-TOF MS-based identification and phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA and five housekeeping genes classified the fenugreek-rhizobia as Ensifer (Sinorhizobium) meliloti. However, the strains represent separate sub-lineages of E. meliloti, distinct from all reported sub-lineages across the globe. We also observed the spatial distribution of fenugreek rhizobia, as the three sub-lineages of E. meliloti recorded during this study were specific to their respective agroclimatic regions. According to the symbiotic gene (nodC and nifH) phylogenies, all three sub-lineages of E. meliloti harboured symbiotic genes similar to symbiovar meliloti; as with the housekeeping genes, these also revealed a spatial distribution for different clades of sv. meliloti. The strains could nodulate fenugreek plants and they showed plant growth-promoting potential. Significant differences were found in the plant growth parameters in response to inoculation with the various strains, suggesting strain-level differences. This study demonstrates that fenugreek rhizobia in India are diverse and spatially distributed in different agro-climatic regions.