Genetic Characterization of Rhizosphere Bacteria that Inhabit Common Bean Nodules in Western Kenya Soils
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Background: With the increasing world population, there is increasing demand for food. This has led to overuse of agricultural farms causing reduced soil fertility and accumulation of phytopathogens. Inorganic fertilizers and pesticides have been extensively used in response to these challenges. Extensive integration of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides in the farming system has contributed to soil and water pollution worsening the eutrophication in rivers lake waters. Alternative farming methods are therefore necessary to address this problem. Recent studies have found that rhizobacteria that colonize nodules of leguminous plants are capable of increasing yield and health of the tested plants. Their plant growth promoting ability depends on the rhizobacteria type, soil properties, and climatic conditions. The aim of this study, therefore, was to genetically characterize rhizobacteria that closely associate with common bean nodules by analyzing the nucleotide sequence of 16SrRNA gene. Results: The 16SrRNA gene analysis revealed that common bean nodule associated bacteria in Western Kenya soils are genetically diverse as indicated by the evolutionary genetic distances. Not even organisms in the same species had zero genetic distance though they formed independent groups on the phylogenetic tree. The isolates belonged to the genus Pseudomonas, Providencia, Rhizobia, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Delfitia and Acinetobacter as identified through nucleotide BLAST at the NCBI GenBank database. Conclusion: Rhizobacteria that colonize common bean nodules are genetically diverse. Those found in this study may be adaptable to Western Kenya soils and further tests are required to determine their plant growth promoting efficiency.