ICAM - Instituto de Ciências Agrárias Mediterranicas   Universidade de Évora
Molecular Biology of Rhizobia
 

Laboratory of Soil Microbiology-Institute of Mediterranean Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Department of Biology - University of Évora - Portugal

Group leader: Solange Oliveira

     
  The symbiosis between soil bacteria (rhizobia) and leguminous plants (beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc) provides nitrogen to the plant by nitrogen fixation, thus increasing yields and reducing the need of environmentally damaging chemical N-fertilisers. Rhizobia can thus be used as safe seed inoculants in sustainable and ecological agriculture. Molecular biology approaches on rhizobia are important for elucidation of the symbiosis relationship and development of improved inoculants.  
     

     
  Nodulos de Rizóbio  
     

     
  Nodulos de Rizóbio  
     
 
     
  Our group is interested in the study of the biodiversity and phylogeny of natural populations of rhizobia from chickpea and other leguminous plants, using a molecular biology approach.
We are also interested in the selection of native rhizobia, both efficient and adapted to local conditions, crucial for the improvement of inoculants. For that purpose we are evaluating the phenotypic characteristics of rhizobia strains, mainly symbiotic efficiency and tolerance to environmental stress including high temperature, salinity or pH extremes.

 
 

Presently, several students are working in the lab:

-Ana Alexandre “Functional analysis of chaperone genes in rhizobia”. Post-Doc Researcher. FCT fellowship in course since April 2011.

-Ana Pašo "Evolution of symbiosis genes in rhizobia: chickpea mesorhizobia as case study". BI fellowship in the project PTDC/BIA-EVF/4158/2012 since July 2013.

-Clarisse Brígido "Interactions between different beneficial endophytic (rhizobial and non-rhizobial) bacteria in chickpea: mechanisms and applications". Post-Doc Researcher. FCT fellowship in course since April 2014.

-Fernando Eliziário "Analysis and overexpression of symbiosis genes from chickpea rhizobia". Master student since September 2013.

-Rodrigo Silva "Improvement of rhizobia strains by genetic transformation with symbiosis genes". PhD student since September 2013.