The high protein content of soybean (Glycine max) seeds results in high nitrogen demand, causing a huge nitrogen uptake during plant growth. As a legume crop, soybean can fix atmospheric N through symbiotic associations with Bradyrhizobia and perform well in African nitrogen poor soils. This study aimed at establishing the ability of promiscuous soybean genotypes to fix nitrogen and devise the relationship between nodule scores and amount of nitrogen fixed. Twelve soybean genotypes were inoculated with Bradyrhizobium japonicum Strain USDA 110 (specific) and Bradyrhizobium sp. Strain USDA 3456 (native) and raised in pots in a greenhouse. At the R3.5 growth stage, nodules were scored and xylem sap was extracted, which xylem sap was used to carry out ureide, amino-N, and nitrates assays. The relative abundance of ureide was used to devise the proportion of nitrogen fixed by each genotype. The proportion of nitrogen derived from atmospheric N2 (Ndfa) ranged from 47.9 to 78.8% under USDA 3456 and from 36.7 to 78.7% under USDA 110. A strong correlation was found between nodule scores, especially nodules’ effectiveness, and Ndfa. The genotypes Wondersoya (78.8%), Maksoy 2N (78.4%), Namsoy 3 (78.3%), and Maksoy 3N (75.7%) had high nitrogen-fixing ability in response to USDA 3456. Promiscuous soybean genotypes can fix nitrogen equally under both native and specific Bradyrhizobium types. Nodules’ effectiveness can be a good predictor of biological nitrogen fixation. This study highlighted that crop improvement to boost soybean production in Africa should target promiscuous varieties for better yield with less inputs.
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RUFORUM Journal Articles