Rhizobium leguminosarum is the symbiont of lentils in the Middle East and Europe but not in Bangladesh

M. Harun-or Rashid, Javier Gonzalez, J. Peter W. Young, Michael Wink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lentil is the oldest of the crops that have been domesticated in the Fertile Crescent and spread to other regions during the Bronze Age, making it an ideal model to study the evolution of rhizobia associated with crop legumes. Housekeeping and nodulation genes of lentil-nodulating rhizobia from the region where lentil originated (Turkey and Syria) and regions to which lentil was introduced later (Germany and Bangladesh) were analyzed to determine their genetic diversity, population structure, and taxonomic position. There are four different lineages of rhizobia associated with lentil nodulation, of which three are new and endemic to Bangladesh, while Mediterranean and Central European lentil symbionts belong to the Rhizobium leguminosarum lineage. The endemic lentil grex pilosae may have played a significant role in the origin of these new lineages in Bangladesh. The presence of R. leguminosarum with lentil at the center of origin and in countries where lentil was introduced later suggests that R. leguminosarum is the original symbiont of lentil. Lentil seeds may have played a significant role in the initial dispersal of this Rhizobium species within the Middle East and on to other countries. Nodulation gene sequences revealed a high similarity to those of symbiovar viciae.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-77
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Early online date19 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

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