* To characterize Chinese rhizobial biodiversity resources.
* To develop especially the molecular methods used for bacterial classification and identification.
* To look for specific genes involved in stress tolerance in order to facilitate their cloning and transfer in the future.
* To match plant and rhizobial genotypes by finding molecular markers indicative of compatibility for high-yielding, efficient nitrogen-fixing symbioses.
* To perform inoculation trials with selected plants, rhizobial strains and other plant-growth promoting bacteria in several different regions and conditions and to measure inoculation success, and effect on soil quality, and monitor the spread of wild-type organisms.
* To improve inoculant quality, production and use.
China as a region offers one of the widest spectra of rhizobial biodiversity in the world. This natural resource is still underexplored and underexploited for sustainable production in agriculture and forestry. When sampled and characterized, rhizobia adapted to diverse climates, to native and introduced crops and to legumes with future potential in revegetation of degraded land and in afforestation can be utilized in agriculture. Results from controlled inoculation trials in several different regions are used to evaluate the potential of the strain and the best strains are used in inoculant preparations. Increased sustainability and optimized input efficiency by reduced fertilizer nitrogen losses, improved stress tolerance of legumes, more stable production through high-quality inoculation, better soil fertility and prevention of land degradation will be reached by using novel biotechnological approaches.
During the first year:
1) Root nodule bacteria (rhizobia) that nodulate the introduced peanut plant (Arachis hypogaea), rhizobia that infect the native legume Astragalus sinicus, and rhizobia from a wide range of wild native legumes growing in areas subjected to environmental stress (drought, salinity, extreme temperatures and pH), are sampled extensively, preserved and characterized taxonomically by using phenotypic and molecular methods.
2) New phylogenetic marker genes are identified and tested on Chinese and reference rhizobia and the AFLP method is applied to rhizobia and plants.
3) Genes for salt tolerance from one strain are characterized.
4) Marker genes are introduced in rhizobia.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts