Publications

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    ABSTRACT: In order to study the effect of salt stress on the Rhizobium-common bean symbiosis, we investigated the response of both partners, separately and in symbiosis. The comparison of the behaviour of five cultivars of Phaseolus vulgaris differing in seed colour, growing on nitrates and different concentrations of NaCl, showed genotypic variation with respect to salt tolerance. Coco Blanc was the most sensitive cultivar, whereas SMV 29-21 was the most tolerant one. At the Rhizobium level, two strains previously selected for their salt tolerance were used: Rhizobium tropici strain RP163 and Rhizobium giardinii strain RP161. Their relative growth was moderately decreased at 250mM NaCl, but they were able to grow at a low rate in the presence of 342 mM NaCl. Their viability at the minimal inhibitory concentration was slightly affected. The effect of salinity on Rhizobium-plant association was studied by using the tolerant variety SMV 29-21 and the sensitive one Coco Blanc inoculated separately with both strains. In the absence of salinity, the strains induced a significantly higher number of nodules on the roots of the cultivar SMV 29-21 compared to those of Coco Blanc. Concerning effectiveness, both strains were similarly effective with SMV 29-21, but not with Coco Blanc. In the presence of salinity, Coco Blanc was more severely affected when associated with RP163 than with RP161. Salinity affected the nodulation development more than it affected the infection steps. Neither of the two strains was able to nodulate SMV 29-21 under saline conditions, in spite of the fact that this was considered the most salt-tolerant variety. The unsuccessful nodulation of SMV 29-21 could be related to the inhibition by salt of one or more steps of the early events of the infection process. In conclusion, N-fixing plants were found to be more sensitive to salt stress than those depending on mineral nitrogen. Evidence presented here suggests that a best symbiotic N2 fixation under salinity conditions could be achieved if both symbiotic partners, as well as the different steps of their interaction (early events, nodule formation, activity, etc.), are all tolerant to this stress.
    Journal of Plant Physiology 11/2005; 162(10):1103-13. · 2.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ultimate objective of PhIMED, in which two European (Germany, Italy) and two Mediterranean (Morocco, Egypt) countries collaborate, is to improve the cultivation of French bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) under arid and semi-arid conditions by analysing and enhancing stress tolerance of the nitrogen fixing rhizobial microsymbionts. Rhizobial strains nodulating P. vulgaris (RP strains) isolated from areas in Morocco frequently subjected to drought were analysed for their salt and pH tolerance and their phylogenetic relationship. Strain RP163, exhibiting high nodulation efficiency and a broad pH tolerance was mutagenised by Tn5 and mutants unable to grow on extreme pH media were isolated. Some of the mutants affected in low pH tolerance were found to be mutated in genes related to cobalmin biosynthesis and in succinate dehydrogenase (sdhA). In a parallel approach, promoters and genes inducible under extreme pH values were identified in Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae VF39, among them gabT, which encodes the GABA transaminase and which is induced under acidic conditions. The same gene is present and similarly regulated in RP163. The actSR gene region was cloned from VF39, sequenced and mutants generated in this region were found to be impaired in growth at low pH, but also under neutral conditions. The Agrobacterium rhizogenes 'promintron' promoter, reported to be activated in stationary phase, was found to be also strongly induced under acidic conditions in rhizobia and it is currently being characterised to construct a system allowing the expression of stress tolerance genes in bacteroids and free-living bacteria.
    Journal of Biotechnology 11/2001; 91(2-3):223-36. · 3.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The main findings of a cooperative research group of agronomists, plant breeders, microbiologists, physiologists and molecularists to improve the symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) and N2-dependent yield of common bean under moderate salinity in the Mediterranean basin are summarised. Agronomic surveys in reference production areas show large spatial and temporal variations in plant nodulation and growth, and in efficiency of utilisation of the rhizobial symbiosis. The latter was associated with a large rhizobial diversity, including new bean nodulating species. Macrosymbiont diversity in SNF and adaptation to NaCl was found. However, contrasts between plant genotypes could be altered by specific interactions with some native rhizobia. Therefore, variations in soil rhizobial population, in addition to agronomic practices and environmental constraints, may have contributed to erratic results observed in field inoculations. At the mechanistic level, nodule C and N metabolisms, and abcissic acid content, were related to SNF potential and tolerance to NaCl. Their relation with nodule conductance to O2 diffusion was addressed by in situ hybridisation of candidate carbonic anhydrase and aquaporin genes in nodule cortex. The limits and prospects of the cooperative strategy are discussed.
    Journal of Biotechnology 11/2001; 91(2-3):257-68. · 3.18 Impact Factor
  • Agronomie 01/2001; 21:591-599.
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    ABSTRACT: The phenotypic characteristics of 48 isolates obtained from root nodules of four Acacia species (Acacia cyanophylla, A. gummifera, A. horrida and A. raddiana) growing in soils collected from the arid and Saharan regions of Morocco were studied. The rhizobia were very diverse with respect to their cross-nodulation patterns, as well as their physiological and biochemical properties. Dendrograms obtained through computer numerical analysis of 52 phenotypic characteristics showed that isolates could fit into four clusters below the boundary level of 0.85 average distance and that they were very distinct from the reference strains. Some interesting isolates for inoculation trials have been identified. They were able to grow at pH ranging from 4 to 9, tolerate a high salt concentration (3% NaCl) and grew at a maximum temperature between 35 and 40 degrees C.
    Letters in Applied Microbiology 06/2000; 30(5):351-7. · 1.63 Impact Factor

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