Isolation and Cultivation in vitro of the Actinomycete Causing Root Nodulation in Comptonia

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  24 Feb 1978:
Vol. 199, Issue 4331, pp. 899-902
DOI: 10.1126/science.199.4331.899


The soil actinomycete causing formation of nitrogen-fixing symbiotic nodules on roots of the woody angiosperm Comptonia peregrina (L.) Coult. (Myricaceae) has been isolated from surface-sterilized root nodules after incubation and enzyme maceration. The filamentous bacterium grows slowly in pure culture on a yeast extract medium, producing sporogenous bodies which form large numbers of ovoid spores. Reinfection of sand-grown or aeroponically grown seedlings of Comptonia was achieved repeatedly with inocula prepared from suspensions of the Comptonia isolate. The same actinomycete has been reisolated from these seedling nodules. The induced nodules are highly active in the acetylene-reduction assay, and plants grow vigorously without an exogenous supply of fixed nitrogen.