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Responses of cultivars of yellow serpadella (ornithopus compressus) to inoculation with strains of rhizobium lupini

R.A. Ballard

Department of Agriculture, Kybybolite, South Australia, 5262

Yellow serradella (Ornithopus compressus L.) in common with lupins is commercially inoculated with Rhizobium lupini strain WU425. However, WU425 has been shown to be only moderately effective on the cultivar Pitman (1) and little is known of its symbiotic performance with recently released cultivars of yellow serradella. This study compared the symbiotic performance of WU425 with that of other strains of R. lupini on cultivars of yellow serradella.


Six cultivars of yellow serradella (Table 1) were inoculated with 10 day old cultures of each of 14 strains of R.lupini. Plants were grown, with shoots exposed to the atmosphere, in 20 x 150 mm glass tubes containing vermiculite moistened with N-free nutrient solution. Plants were watered with distilled water as required, and the dry weight of the shoots determined 42 days after inoculation.

Results and discussion

Dry matter production associated with strains WSM471 and USDA3709 was equal or superior to that of WU425 with all cultivars. When averaged, across all cultivars the dry matter production with strain WSM471 was 15% greater than with WU425. Dry matter production of Madiera and Avila was 29% and 26% greater, respectively, with WSM471 compared with WU425 (Table1).

Table 1. Shoot dry weight (mg plant-1) of six cultivars of Ornithopus compressus inoculated with each of 14 strains of Rhizobium lupini

Further assessment, in intact cores of acid soil and at reduced root temperatures, of those strains that demonstrated equal or superior performance to WU425 is required to ascertain if these differences in symbiotic performance are likely to exist in the field.

1. Gault, R.R., Corbin, E.J., Boundy, K.A. and Brockwell, J. (1986), Aust. J. Exp. Agric. Anim. Husb. 26, 37-48.

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