Acid-tolerant lucerne Rhizobia

Acid-tolerant lucerne rhizobia will improve lucerne productivity by significantly increasing the level of nodulation on plants grown in acid soils above pH-Ca of 4.6. This will result in improved lucerne establishment, higher levels of nitrogen fixation and increased persistence of lucerne stands.

Future Farm Industries CRC funded research through the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) to evaluate a range of new rhizobia strains for superior acid tolerance.
In 2008, more than 250 strains, mostly isolated from acidic soils in southern NSW, were screened to identify strains with potential acid-tolerance. The 11 most promising strains were compared in a range of field and greenhouse experiments to assess their performance in acid soils and their ability to fix nitrogen.

Detailed evaluation of 17 experiments sown at 10 field locations in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales identified several elite strains with highly effective nitrogen fixation and improved second-year nodulation. The combination of low pH solution culture experiments and detailed nodulation assessments across multiple field sites also helped to develop a clearer picture of pH constraints to nodulation than has previously been available.

The research team anticipates that a new acid-tolerant rhizobia strain will be released commercially across Australia in time for sowing lucerne in 2014.


Acid-tolerant Lucerne Rhizobia Project Leader: Ross Ballard

Further Information


Future Farm Industries Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) ceased trading on 30 June 2014.

This website contains information about the CRC’s research into perennial plant based farming systems.

This site will remain live until 30 June 2017 but is no longer being updated or reviewed.

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The CRC was funded for seven years (2007-2014) under the Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre program.