SoilSoc Research

Research projects Thesis abstracts

Diversity & exploitation of Ethiopian rhizobia in agroforestry

Institute / Organisation / Unit: Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, University of Helsinki

Research director / Project Leader: Kristina Lindström

Other researchers: Dr. Leena A. Räsänen, PhD students Aregu Amsalu,Tamrat Bedada

Keywords: rhizobia, diversity, co-evolution, inoculation, legumes, agroforestry

Methods / Expertise: Finger-printing methods, plant experiments,  AFLP, Bionumerics, GUS

Partners: Zewdu Terefework, University of Amsterdam; Fassil Assefa, Addis Ababa University; Asfaw Hailemariam National Soil Research Center, Addis Ababa; Endalkachew Wolde-meskel, Debub University

Discription: Ethiopia is a country where food security is endangered due to land degradation, rapid population growth and deterioration of natural forests (decreased to 2%). The only way to improve soil fertility, and through that to increase food production, is to exploit biological nitrogen-fixation. This means cultivation of food and fodder legumes (pulses) and favouring of woody legumes in agroforestry parklands. The project explores the diversity of rhizobia isolated  from poorly known tropical pulses and endemic leguminous trees and bushes.  Ethiopia has an extraordinary species-rich flora, and it is considered as a centre of the diversity for many leguminous crops and wild legumes. This diversity may also be reflected in a great diversity of  rhizobia, which can be utilised in development of  inoculants and inoculation procedures.  An important goal will be the  training of Ethiopian PhD students in methods of molecular genetics currently used for assessing bacterial diversity.

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