Rhizobial inoculation methods affect the nodulation and plant growth traits of host plant genotypes: A case study of Common bean Phaseolus vulgaris L. germplasms cultivated by smallholder farmers in Eastern Kenya

Main Article Content

Ephraim Motaroki Menge Ezekiel Mugendi Njeru Gilbert Koskey John Maingi


Rhizobia inoculants are soil bacteria that promote biological nitrogen fixation (BNF). Understanding of rhizobia-host genotype association is a critical step in enhancing legume productivity. Questionnaires were used to identify the common bean varieties cultivated in Eastern Kenya. The native rhizobia were isolated from the root nodules of MAC 13 and MAC 64 bean varieties. Afterwards, a greenhouse bioassay with four inoculation treatments using sterilized soil; 1) mixture of isolated strains, 2) commercial exotic inoculant (Biofix), 3) mixture of isolated strain + commercial inoculant, 4) control without inoculation were set up in a complete randomized design with three replications. Four weeks later, beans were sampled and examined for nodule number (NNO), nodule dry weight (NDW), shoot dry weight (SDW), root dry weight (RDW), shoot nitrogen (%N) and phosphorus (P). Results demonstrated that highest and significant (p<0.05) NDW, SDW and shoot %N content were achieved in a mix of native consortium+ commercial rhizobia, while the highest and significant (p<0.05) P content was realized in a consortium of native rhizobia inoculation. Moreover, there was a significant interaction (p<0.05) between  rhizobia and bean varieties with Kabuu recording the highest NDW, SDW, %N and P contents in a mix of native consortium+ commercial exotic rhizobia. Gacere recorded the highest NDW and SDW when inoculated with commercial rhizobia. Native rhizobia inoculation recorded the highest shoot %N variability in all bean varieties when compared to commercial and a mixture of native+ commercial rhizobia. These results show the mutual preference that exists between rhizobia and bean varieties and the multistrain synergism between native and commercial exotic rhizobia. Further studies should explicate the performance of diverse native rhizobia inoculants used in this study under field conditions.  


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Menge, E., Njeru, E., Koskey, G., & Maingi, J. (2018). Rhizobial inoculation methods affect the nodulation and plant growth traits of host plant genotypes: A case study of Common bean Phaseolus vulgaris L. germplasms cultivated by smallholder farmers in Eastern Kenya. Advances in Agricultural Science, 6(3), 77-94. Retrieved from http://aaasjournal.org/submission/index.php/aaas/article/view/83


Aguilar, O.M., M.V. Lopez and P.M. Riccillo. 2001. The diversity of rhizobia nodulating beans in Northwest Argentina as a source of more efficient inoculant strains. Journal of Biotechnology 91(2-3): 181-188.
Bekunda, M., N. Sanginga and P.L. Woomer. 2010. Restoring soil fertility in Sub-Sahara Africa. Advances in Agronomy 108: 183-236.
Canfield, D.E., A.N. Glazer and P.G. Falkowski. 2010. The evolution and future of Earth’s nitrogen cycle. Science 330(6001): 192-196.
Chianu, J.N., E.M. Nkonya, F.S. Mairura, J.N. Chianu and F.K. Akinnifesi. 2011. Biological nitrogen fixation and socioeconomic factors for legume production in Sub-Saharan Africa. In: Sustainable Agriculture. Dordrecht: Springer. 2: 309-329.
Claus, D. 1992. A standardized Gram staining procedure. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 8(4): 451-452.
Elfeel, A.A. 2012. Effect of seed pre-treatment and sowing orientation on germination of Balanites aegyptiaca (L) Del. Seeds. American-Eurasian Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Science 12(7): 897-900.
Fageria, N.K. 2002. Nutrient management for sustainable dry bean production in the tropics. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 33(9-10): 1537-1575.
Hamdani, A.M. and I.A. Wani. 2017. Guar and Locust bean gum: composition, total phenolic content, antioxidant and antinutritional characterisation. Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre 11: 53-59.
Hart, P. B. S., P. W. Clinton, R. B. Allen, A. H. Nordmeyer and G. Evans. 2003. Biomass and macro-nutrients (above-and below-ground) in a New Zealand beech (Nothofagus) forest ecosystem: implications for carbon storage and sustainable forest management. Forest Ecology and Management 174(1): 281-294.
Herridge, D.F. 1982. Relative abundance of ureides and nitrate in plant tissues of soybean as a quantitative assay of nitrogen fixation. Plant Physiology 70(1): 1-6.
Hillocks, R.J. 2011. Farming for balanced nutrition: an agricultural approach to addressing micronutrient deficiency among the vulnerable poor in Africa. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development 11(2): 1-14.
Hotter, G.S. and D.B. Scott. 1991. Exopolysaccharide mutants of Rhizobium loti are fully effective on a determinate nodulating host but are ineffective on an indeterminate nodulating host. Journal of Bacteriology 173(2): 851-859.
Hungria, M., D.S. Andrade, L.M.O. Chueire, A. Probanza, F.J. Guttierrez-Mañero and M. Meg??as. 2000. Isolation and characterization of new efficient and competitive bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) rhizobia from Brazil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 32(11-12): 1515-1528.
Hungria, M., R.J. Campo and I.C. Mendes. 2003. Benefits of inoculation of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) crop with efficient and competitive Rhizobium tropici strains. Biology and Fertility of Soils 39(2): 88-93.
Jensen, E.S., M.B. Peoples and H. Hauggaard-Nielsen. 2010. Faba bean in cropping systems. Field Crops Research 115(3): 203-216.
Justes, E., B. Mary, J.M. Meynard, J.M. Machet and L. Thelier-Huché. 1994. Determination of a critical nitrogen dilution curve for winter wheat crops. Annals of Botany 74(4): 397-407.
Kawaka, F., M. M. Dida, P. A. Opala, O. Ombori, J. Maingi, N. Osoro and J. Muoma. 2014. Symbiotic efficiency of native rhizobia nodulating common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in soils of Western Kenya. International Scholarly Research Notices 2014(1): 1–8.
Koskey, G., S.W. Mburu, E.M. Njeru, J.M. Kimiti, O. Ombori and J.M. Maingi. 2017. Potential of native rhizobia in enhancing nitrogen fixation and yields of climbing beans (Phaseolus vulgaris l.) in contrasting environments of Eastern Kenya. Frontiers in Plant Science 8: 443.
Leidi, E.O. and D.N. Rodriguez-Navarro. 2000. Nitrogen and phosphorus availability limit N2 fixation in bean. The New Phytologist 147(2): 337-346.
Leterme, P. and L.C. Mu?oz. 2002. Factors influencing pulse consumption in Latin America. British Journal of Nutrition, 88(S3): 251-254.
Maingi, J.M., C.A. Shisanya, N.M. Gitonga and B. Hornetz. 2001. Nitrogen fixation by common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in pure and mixed stands in semi-arid South-East Kenya. European Journal of Agronomy 14(1): 1-12.
Mburu, S.W., G. Koskey, J.M. Kimiti, O. Ombori, J.M. Maingi and E.M. Njeru. 2016. Agrobiodiversity conservation enhances food security in subsistence-based farming systems of Eastern Kenya. Agriculture and Food Security 5(1): 19.
Mhamdi, R., G. Laguerre, M.E. Aouani, M. Mars and N. Amarger. 2002. Different species and symbiotic genotypes of field rhizobia can nodulate Phaseolus vulgaris in Tunisian soils. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 41(1): 77-84.
Mitchell-Olds T., J. Gershenzon, I. Baldwin and W. Boland. 1998. Chemical ecology in the molecular era. Trends in Plant Sciences, 3(9): 362–365.
National Research Council. 2009. Emerging technologies to benefit farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. National Academies Press.
Neila, A., B. Adnane, B. Manel, L. Boulbaba, G. Cherki and S. Bouaziz. 2012. Symbiotic responses to insoluble phosphorus supply in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.): Rhizobia symbiosis. African Journal of Biotechnology, 11(19): 4360-4367.
Okalebo, J.R., K.W. Gathua and P. L. Woomer. 2002. Laboratory methods of soil and plant analysis: A Working Manual. Nairobi: Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Programme.
Overbeck, G.E., S.C. Müller, A. Fidelis, J. Pfadenhauer, V.D. Pillar, C.C. Blanco, I.I. Boldrini, R. Both and E.D. Forneck. 2007. Brazil's neglected biome: the South Brazilian Campos. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 9(2): 101-116.
Peters, J.W. and E.S. Boyd. 2015. Exploring alternative paths for the evolution of biological nitrogen fixation. Biological Nitrogen Fixation 2: 169.
Phillips, D.A., D.M. Center and M.B. Jones. 1983. Nitrogen turnover and assimilation during regrowth in Trifolium subterraneum L. and Bromus mollis L. Plant Physiology 71(3): 472-476.
Pretty, J. 2008. Agricultural sustainability: concepts, principles and evidence. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 363(1491): 447-465.
Ramaekers, L., R. Remans, I.M. Rao, M.W. Blair and J. Vanderleyden. 2010. Strategies for improving phosphorus acquisition efficiency of crop plants. Field Crops Research 117(2-3): 169-176.
Remans, R., L. Ramaekers, S. Schelkens, G. Hernandez, A. Garcia, J.L. Reyes, N. Mendez, V. Toscano, M. L. Mulling, L. Galvez and J. Vanderleyden. 2008. Effect of Rhizobium-Azospirillum co-inoculation on nitrogen fixation and yield of two contrasting Phaseolus vulgaris L. genotypes cultivated across different environments in Cuba. Plant and soil 312(1-2): 25-37.
Robert, P. 1993. Characterization of soil conditions at the field level for soil specific management. Geoderma 60(1-4): 57-72.
Romdhane, S.B., F. Tajini, M. Trabelsi, M.E. Aouani and R. Mhamdi. 2007. Competition for nodule formation between introduced strains of Mesorhizobium ciceri and the native populations of rhizobia nodulating chickpea (Cicer arietinum) in Tunisia. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 23(9): 1195-1201.
Sessitsch, A., J.G. Howieson, X. Perret, H. Antoun and E. Martinez-Romero. 2002. Advances in Rhizobium Research. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 21(4): 323-378.
Somasegaran, P. and Hoben, H. J. 1994. Handbook for rhizobia methods in legume - Rhizobium technology. Springer Verlag, New York.
Subbarao, G.V., C. Johansen, A.E. Slinkard, R.R.C. Nageswara, N.P. Saxena, Y.S. Chauhan and R.J. Lawn. 1995. Strategies for improving drought resistance in grain legumes. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 14(6): 469-523.
Thornton, P.K., P.G. Jones, G. Alagarswamy, J. Andresen and M. Herrero. 2010. Adapting to climate change: agricultural system and household impacts in East Africa. Agricultural Systems 103(2): 73-82.
Tomaszewska, L., A. Rywi?ska and W. G?adkowski. 2012. Production of erythritol and mannitol by Yarrowia lipolytica yeast in media containing glycerol. Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 39(9): 1333-1343.
Triplett, E.W. and M.J. Sadowsky. 1992. Genetics of competition for nodulation of legumes. Annual Reviews in Microbiology 46(1): 399-422.
Valentine, A.J., V.A. Benedito and Y. Kang. 2010. Legume nitrogen fixation and soil abiotic stress: from physiology to genomics and beyond. Annual Plant Reviews: Nitrogen Metabolism in Plants in the Post-Genomic Era 42: 207-248.
Vincent, J. M. 1970. A manual for the practical study of the root nodule bacteria. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.126 p.
Wekesa, C., J. Muoma, O. Ombori, J. Maingi, D. Okun, K. Juma, P. Okoth, E. Wamalwa, M. Kollenberg and E. Mauti. 2017. Genetic characterization of rhizosphere bacteria that inhabit common bean nodules in Western Kenya soils. 3(1):128
Workalemahu, A. and F. Assefa. 2007. Phenotypic characteristics of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)-nodulating rhizobia from some parts of Southern Ethiopia. Ethiopian Journal of Biological Sciences 6(2): 1-11
Zablotowicz, R.M., E.M. Tipping, R. Lifshitz and J.W. Kloepper. 1991. Plant growth promotion mediated by bacterial rhizosphere colonizers. In: The rhizosphere and plant growth. Springer, Dordrecht. 315-326.