• Phaseolus vulgaris;
  • Rhizobium etli;
  • rhizobial diversity

Phaseolus vulgaris L. (common bean) is nodulated by rhizobia present in the fields around the Seibersdorf laboratory despite the fact that common bean has not been grown for a long time. Using PCR analysis with repetitive primers, plasmid profiles, nifH profiles, PCR-RFLP analysis of the 16S rRNA gene and of the 16S rRNA-23S rRNA intergenic spacer and the nodulation phenotype, two well-differentiating groups could be distinguished. One group showed high similarity to Rhizobium sp. R602sp, isolated from common bean in France, while the other showed the same characteristics as R. etli. We detected little variation in the symbiotic regions but found higher diversity when using approaches targeting the whole genome. Many isolates obtained in this study might have diverged from a limited number of strains, therefore the Austrian isolates showed high saprophytic and nodulation competence in that particular soil.