Ten core soil samples were collected from experimental plots at IITA, SW Nigeria that were previously inoculated with Rhizobium strains (IRC1045 and IRC 1050) specific for Leucaena leucocephala at two depths; 0–15 cm and 15–30 cm. The control soil samples were collected at similar depths from an adjacent field with no previous history of legume cultivation. Six weeks after planting of L. leucocephala in the soil samples in the greenhouse shoots, roots and nodules were harvested aseptically. Typing of the nodules as well as the identification of the persisting population of the introduced strains were based on the intrinsic resistance of IRC 1045 and IRC 1050 to streptomycin at 500 mg/ml and nodules were found to be made up of 100% of previously introduced strains. The potency and competitive ability of the recovered IRC 1045 and IRC 1050 were thus confirmed via the pot experiment and plant reinfection experiment in the greenhouse. At 0–15 cm and 15–30 cm depths 8.0 x 104 and 9.0 x 104 rhizobia/g of soil were recovered respectively in spite of the 10-year fallow period. Biomass production with the three woody legumes revealed Root and Shoot dry weights of the following order of magnitude Senna siamea > L. leucocephala > Senna spectabilis. This report showed the great potential of application of Rhizobium technology in low input sustainable agricultural practice and environmental pollution abatement for non-use of chemical nitrogen fertilizers.
Key words: Agriculture, Leucaena leucocephala, nodulation, persistence, rhizobium.
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