Symbiotic Efficiency and Genotypic Characterization of Variants of Bradyrhizobium spp. in Commercial Inoculants for Soybeans

ABSTRACT High yields obtained from soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill], and consequent profits, are related to efficient symbiosis of soybean with nitrogen fixing bacteria of the Bradyrhizobium genus. Inoculation with strains belonging to the Bradyrhizobium japonicum, B. elkanii, and B. diazofficiens species, approved by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA), is a common practice for this crop. However, variations in the composition of inoculants can change the quality of the product. The aim of this study was to genetically identify and to evaluate the symbiotic efficiency of isolates with cultural characteristics different from those of strains approved by MAPA and which are present in two commercial inoculants for soybean. Isolates obtained from inoculants and the strains SEMIA 5079 (CPAC 15), SEMIA 5080 (CPAC 7), SEMIA 587 (BR 96), and SEMIA 5019 (BR 29), indicated in the formulation of these inoculants, were tested for symbiotic efficiency in soybeans (cultivar: COODETEC 5G 830 RR) in a greenhouse. Identification by partial sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, together with BOX-PCR analysis, showed that variant isolates were not similar to the inoculant strains indicated in the commercial products, despite belonging to the same genus and/or species. No loss was observed in the nodulation ability of the isolates; however, significant differences were reported in the symbiotic efficiency of the isolates compared to the inoculant strains approved by MAPA. Nevertheless, the presence of morphological variants did not influence the efficiency of inoculant products.