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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

A brief discussion is presented of recent information concerning (a) factors influencing extent of N2, loss during N2 fixation by legumes; (b) electron carriers involved in the oxyhydrogen reaction of Rhizobium japonicum bacteroids; and (c) progress made in evaluating H2 recycling advantages. A major factor determining whether H2 is evolved from legume nodules is the presence of an active uptake hydrogenase which participates in the oxidation of H2 that is evolved as a by-product of the nitrogenase reaction. The extent of H2 evolution from the nitrogenase reaction is affected by those factors that influence the nitrogenase turnover rate. These include the supply of ATP and reductant and the ratio of the Fe protein to the MoFe protein component of nitrogenase. Oxidation of H2 in Rhizobium bacteroids is catalyzed by a series of enzymes located in bacteroid membranes. In addition to the hydrogenase per se, carriers so far shown to be involved in the process include cytochromes of the b and c types and possibly an ubiquinone. Evidence indicating that H2 recycling within N2-fixing organisms leads to physiological benefits that could result in potential increases in legume yields is summarized. Comparisons of Hup* and Hup wild-type single strains, groups of Hup+ and Hup+ strains and non-revertible Hup mutants with a Hup+ parent strain as inocula for legumes indicate that the Hup+ characteristic contributes to increased N2 fixation by legumes. We conclude, however, that the most critical evaluation of the direct benefit from H2 recycling to legumes will be derived from experiments in which a Hup+ parent strain, Hup revertible mutants and Hup+ revertant strains derived from the Hup mutants are compared as legume inoculants. R. japonicum strains of these types have been developed. The plasmid profiles in wild-type Hup+ and Hup strains as well as in Hup mutants and parent strain have been investigated.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory for Nitrogen Fixation Research, Oregon State University


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