Submitted to: The Bean Bag
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The demand for sustainable agriculture is increasing. Legumes and their nitrogen-fixing bacteria are key elements in sustainable agriculture. Their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen decreases the need for nitrogen fertilizers, which reduces environmental contamination by runoff and leaching of nitrogen fertilizers and increases farm profits by reducing the cost of inputs. The legume genera whose ability to fix nitrogen is unknown, are listed along with their regional distributions. This will facilitate the search for new nitrogen-fixing legumes for agricultural use.
Technical Abstract: Four hundred and ninety two Fabaceae genera, comprising more than 17,450 species, have been examined to determine their ability to symbiose with rhizobia, i.e. bacteria capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen. One hundred and ninety six genera, comprising approximately 550 species, remain to be investigated. The geographic region, tribal placement, and number of species are presented for each legume genus whose ability to symbiose with rhizobia is unknown. Basic techniques to examine leguminous plants for nodules are outlined.