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Hydrogen recycling in root nodules improves nitrogen fixation in bean plants

Legume crops such as common bean constitute a major source of protein in many areas. The high protein content of these plants derives from its ability to establish symbiosis with rhizobia, endosymbiotic bacteria able to convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which can be incorporated by the plant. This biological nitrogen fixation by nitrogenase in legume root nodules results in the evolution of hydrogen, a source of inefficiency of the system. In this work we have shown that the introduction of a rhizobial hydrogenase system able to recycle the hydrogen evolved by nitrogenase leads to significant improvements of symbiotic performance, thus resulting in increased nitrogen content in bean plants.

Original Paper:

Torres, A.R., Brito, B., Imperial, J., Palacios, J.M., Ciampitti, I.A., Ruiz-Argüeso, T., Hungria, M. 2020. Hydrogen-uptake genes improve symbiotic efficiency in common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. DOI: 10.1007/s10482-019-01381-6

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