Preprint version.
Published in Canadian Journal of Microbiology, vol.49, no.8, pp.483-491,
at doi:10.1139/w03-061.


The utilization of actinomycetes as potential soybean (Glycine max (L.)) co-inoculants was evaluated. Soil samples from Carbondale and Belleville, Ill., were used to inoculate pre-germinated soybean plants to determine antibiotic sensitivity in the native Bradyrhizobium japonicum population. Sensitivity was in the order kanamycin > tetracycline > oxytetracycline > rifampicin > neomycin. Antagonism by five actinomycete cultures toward seven test strains of B. japonicum was also assessed. The ranking average inhibition (across all seven B. japonicum strains) by these actino mycetes was Streptomyces kanamyceticus = Streptomyces coeruleoprunus > Streptomyces rimosus > Streptomyces sp. > Amy colatopsis mediterranei. Ten antibiotic combinations were used to isolate antibiotic-resistant mutants of B. japonicum I-110 and 3I1B-110 via successive cycles of mutation. Eighty-one antibiotic-resistant strains were isolated and tested for symbiotic competency; nine of which were selected for further characterization in a greenhouse pot study. Few differences in nodule number were caused by these treatments. Nodule occupancy varied from 0% to 18.3% when antibiotic-resistant strains of B. japonicum were used as the sole inoculants. However, when three mutant strains of B. japonicum were co-inoculated with S. kanamyceticus, significant increases in nodule occupancy (up to 55%) occurred. Increases in shoot nitrogen composition (27.1%–40.9%) were also caused by co-inoculation with S. kanamyceticus.