Open Access

Effect of genotypes-Rhizobium-environment interaction on nodulation and productivity of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in eastern Ethiopia

Environmental Systems Research20176:14

https://doi.org/10.1186/s40068-017-0091-8

Received: 9 December 2016

Accepted: 3 May 2017

Published: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Background

Effectiveness of Rhizobium inoculation is determined by common bean genotypes. Environmental factors also affect common bean genotypes-Rhizobium-symbiosis. The effect of common bean genotypes-Rhizobium strains-environment interaction on nodulation and common bean production is not well studied. Three genotypes (Dursitu, Gofta, and Kufanzik) and eight selected isolates of common bean nodulating-rhizobia with N-fertilized and control check were used for field experiments at four locations (Babile, Fedis, Haramaya, and Hirna) to evaluate the effect of genotypes-Rhizobium strains-environment interaction on the nodulation, yield and yield traits of common bean. The treatments were laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications.

Results

This study revealed that Rhizobium inoculation, the genotypes, environment and their interaction significantly (P ≤ 0.05) affected all investigated traits of common bean. Common bean genotypes Rhizobium inoculation and experimental locations significantly affected nodule number (NN) and nodule dry weight (NDW). The highest NN and NDW as compared to the uninoculated control across locations were recorded with the genotype Dursitu in all inoculation treatments. However, the result revealed the lowest mean total biomass (TBY) and grain yield (GY) over locations with the same genotype Dursitu. The highest mean grain yields of 3358.89, 3257.82, 1499.25 and 2204.82 kg ha−1 across the treatments were recorded at Haramaya, Hirna, Babile and Fedis sites, respectively, with the genotype Gofta, thereby implying that there was none specificity between common bean genotypes × locations in the study locations of eastern Ethiopia with tested common bean genotypes. None of the tested isolates produced statistically better NN, NDW, TBY, GY and total plant N accumulation consistently in all locations with all tested common bean genotypes, indicating the presence of Rhizobium strains × location specificity.

Conclusion

Therefore, the result showed the need for a specific strain of Rhizobium development for common bean production in different locations.

Keywords

Common beanEthiopiaGenotypeLocations Rhizobium Specificity

Background

Symbiotic N2 fixation (SNF), a biological process of transforming the atmospheric N2 by mutual interaction of the host plant with soil bacteria is an essential environmentally and economically sustainable sources of N to the soil (Silva and Uchida 2000), thereby reducing the use of chemical N fertilizer. Different rhizobial species belonging to the genera Rhizobium, Agrobacterium, Ensifer, Bradyrhizobium, and Ochrobactrum are able to produce nodules with common bean plants (Wang et al. 2016). Inoculation is a key biological input to improve crop productivity and soil fertility through increasing the rhizobia in the plant rhizosphere (Keyser and Li 1992; Remans et al. 2008), thereby improving nodulation and N2-fixation (Peoples et al. 1995) and it can also fix to exceed 200 kg N ha year−1 (Giller 2001). The symbiotic N2relationship between common bean and Rhizobium contributed up to 90 kg N ha−1 which was 40–50% of the total N near physiological maturity (Westermann et al. 1981). Several studies indicated the promising potential of common bean to fix N2 derived from the atmosphere (Asadi Rahmani et al. 2005; García et al. 2004; Remans et al. 2008).

The efficacy of rhizobial strains in nodulating and fixing atmospheric N with common bean varies with both the host genotypes and the Bacterium strains (Aguilar et al. 1998; Caballero-Mellado and Martinez-Romero 1999; Farid and Navabi 2015; Michiels et al. 1998; Moawad et al. 1998). The prevailing environmental conditions significantly shape the diversity and distribution of indigenous rhizobia nodulating common bean (Wang et al. 2016). Deficiency of different essential nutrients have also been reported as legume-Rhizobium symbiosis limiting environmental factors, which may limit the nodulation and N2 derived from the atmosphere (Divito and Sadras 2014). Soil water availability, which is one of the major environmental factors, also influences the N2 fixation derived from the atmosphere by common bean (Devi et al. 2013) and soybean (Collino et al. 2015). This variability often limits the nitrogen-fixing performance of soil native rhizobia or use of commercially available inocula. Strains of rhizobia widely differed in their abilities to survive, nodulate and fix Nin soil environments (Slattery et al. 2001). Considering the high level of adaptation by native rhizobia to local soil conditions, it is important to characterize the indigenous rhizobial collection for use in inoculant production.

Many research reports indicated that host genotypic factors affect nodulation and nodule activity in Phaseolus vulgaris (Graham and Temple 1984; Rennie and Kemp 1983). Nleya et al. (2001) also illustrated the different response of common bean genotypes to the application of Rhizobium inoculant. Hardarson et al. (1993) also found that N derived from the atmosphere (% Ndfa) varied from 35 to 70% among different common bean genotypes. Usually, bushy growth habit of common bean has the lowest N fixation efficiency among all legume crops (Bliss 1993; Hardarson et al. 1993; Isoi and Yoshida 1991; Martinez-Romero 2003). Indeterminate genotypes generally can fix more nitrogen than determinate genotypes due to the greater “sink” in the indeterminate variety (Ofori and Stern 1987). Bliss (1993) identified common bean genotypes capable of fixing enough atmospheric N2 to support the grain yield of 1000–2000 kg ha−1. Therefore, improvement of bean BNF requires a multidisciplinary approach that will increase the host capacity to fix N (Giller 2001) and selection of effective Rhizobium strains that can compete for nodulation with native populations of bacteria present in most soils. So far, the effect of environmental condition on Rhizobium-common bean genotypes is not well known. Almost no attempt has also been made on effective bushy type common bean genotypes (with variable maturity time)-Rhizobium symbiosis, which can give higher responses in different environment conditions. Hence, the objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of bushy type common bean genotypes, Rhizobium strains and environment interaction on the nodulation, yield and yield traits of common bean in soils of eastern Ethiopia.

Methods

Description of experimental sites

Field experiments were conducted at four locations, including Hirna (09°13.157′N and 041°06.488′E at an altitude of 1779.6 m above sea level [m.a.s.l.]), Fedis (09°06.941′N and 042°04.835′E at an altitude of 1642.8 m.a.s.l.), Babile (09°13.234′N and 042°19.407′E 1643.4 m.a.s.l.) and Haramaya (09°24.954′N and 042°02.037′E at an altitude of 1999.4 m.a.s.l.) agricultural research centers representing the major common bean cultivating areas of Ethiopia in 2013. The fields were located in the eastern parts of Ethiopia where common bean had long been grown intercropped with sorghum and maize without inoculation. The location map of the study site was previously indicated in Argaw (2016).

Soil sampling

The initial soil samples were collected from the top 0–20 cm for analysis of the soil physico-chemical properties. A composite soil comprising 20 auguring sampling points from each experimental site was taken and transported back to the laboratory within a day. Representative subsamples of 1 kg each were prepared for most probable number (MPN) assay and stored in a refrigerator at 4 °C until used for enumerating indigenous rhizobial population. The soil physico-chemical properties were analyzed using standard procedures employed by Sahlemedhin and Taye (2000).

Soil properties

The soils of the study sites had clay, sandy loam, sandy clay loam and silty clay loam in Hirna, Babile, Haramaya and Fedis sites, respectively. The pH(H2O) of the study sites ranged from 6.66 to 7.84 which is within the suitable pH ranges for Rhizobium species. All experiment sites had the electric conductivity less than 0.14 ms cm−1. The soil organic carbon and total N content were 1.65 and 0.06%, 0.56 and 0.06%, 1.96 and 0.12%; and 1.32 and 0.12% in Hirna, Babile, Haramaya and Fedis sites, respectively. The soil had the CEC ranging from 6.59 cmol(+) kg−1 in Babile to 39.88 cmol(+) kg−1 in Hirna site. The soil of the study sites had exchangeable Ca+2, Mg+2, Na+1 and K+1 with ranges of 39.88–4.18, 12.87–3.5, 0.33–0.12 and 1.09–0.14 cmol(+) kg−1, respectively.

Source of the isolates and common bean seed genotypes

Eight isolates of Rhizobium spp. were obtained from Biofertilizer Research and Production Project (BRPP), Haramaya University (Haramaya, Ethiopia). The isolates were designated as HUCBR-1, HUCBR-2, HUCBR-3, HUCBR-4, HUCBR-5, HUCBR-6, HUCBR-7, and HUCBR-8. All isolates used in this study were obtained from Ethiopian soils. All isolates were previously characterized as superior isolates in nodule formation and shoot biomass production of common bean under greenhouse conditions (Argaw 2007).

Seeds of Phaseolus vulgaris genotypes used in this study were obtained from Lowland Pulse Research Program, Haramaya University, Haramaya, Ethiopia. The selected genotypes were characterized as highly productive genotypes in the study sites. Beside this, maturity time was also considered for selection of genotypes for this experiment. Accordingly, Gofta, Kufanzik and Dursitu genotypes belong to early, medium and late maturing categories, respectively.

Preparation of inocula

The pure cultures of Rhizobium isolates were obtained from the laboratory in slant culture. The bacteria were purified by culturing in YEM (Yeast extract mannitol) agar medium and then single pure colony was transferred into YEM broth medium and kept at 30 °C for 7 days on a rotary shaker at 120 rpm. About 400 ml of culture liquid medium containing appropriate Rhizobium sp. were added to 1 kg of the carrier (sterile fine filter mud) and mixed thoroughly and then packed in plastic bags. Filtermud-base inoculum was incubated at 26–28 °C for 15 days. At the time of inoculation, the number of rhizobia in the inoculum was estimated using plate count method. One ml samples of serially diluted inocula from 10−6 dilution were plated in YEMA medium. Colonies that developed after incubation at 28 °C for 5–7 days were recorded. This test indicated that the number of rhizobia was more than 1 × 109 g−1 inocula.

Experimental layout and treatments

The experimental fields were plowed thoroughly twice with a tractor and divided into sub-plots in accordance with the treatments. The net size of each experimental sub-plot was 3 × 2 m2. There were five rows per plot and the spacing was 1 m between plots, 40 cm between rows and 10 cm between plants. Ten levels of inoculation containing eight Rhizobium isolates (NSCBR-14, NSCBR-(25)2, NSCBR-59, NSCBR-31, NSCBR-16, NSCBR-18, NSCBR-57 and NSCBR-25) with uninoculated and N-fertilized (20 kg N ha−1) control and three common bean genotypes were factorially combined. Before sowing, 20 kg P ha−1 as tri superphosphate for all experimental plots were applied in furrows. Identical field experiments were carried out in four locations.

Common bean seeds were sterilized using 70% ethanol for 1 min and NaClO solution (0.25% as available Cl) for 3 min. The seeds were then washed carefully in sterilized deionized water five times before sowing. Then, 20 g of the different rhizobia inoculants was added to different polyethylene bags containing 200 g of common bean seeds. A 10% (w/v) sucrose solution to increase adherence was added to each bag to enhance proper mixing and adhesion of the rhizobia carrier material to the common bean seeds. After mixing, seeds were allowed to air-dry in the shade for 15 min and sown field layout. Two seeds were planted by hand per hole and later thinned down to one per hole 1 week after germination. A total of 30 treatment combinations were used in the experiment. The experiments were designed as two-factor experiments in a randomized complete block design (RCBD). There were three replications of each treatment. All standard local cultural practices were accomplished throughout the growth period. Manual weeding was done whenever required.

Nodulation, yield and yield attributes

At late flowering and early pod setting stage, five plants were randomly chosen from central three rows for the evaluation of nodulation and plant growth. Adhered soil on the sampled plants were loosen by placing into plastic buckets filled with water. Thereafter, nodules from roots were picked and following data were recorded: (1) Nodule number plant−1, and (2) nodule dry weight plant−1. Shoot dry weight was also measured after drying the samples at 70 °C in the electrical oven until the weight of the samples became constant. Shoots of the plants were later ground to pass through a 0.5 cm sieve. Total N determinations were done by the Kjeldahl method of Bremner (1965). At full maturity stage, numbers of pods plant−1, the number of seed pod−1, plant height at harvest and total biomass were recorded. Grain yield was corrected for 13% moisture content after determining humidity level with a grain moisture tester.

Data analysis

Data were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) using Statistical Analysis System (SAS Institute Inc 1999). Statistically significant differences between treatment means were also determined using the least significant difference (LSD) test at 5% probability level of significance (SAS Institute Inc 1999). Figures were prepared using excel Microsoft of version 10.

Results

Nodule number

Analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that Rhizobium inoculation, experimental location, the genotypes and their interaction significantly affected the nodule number (NN) at P ≤ 0.05 (Table 1). The effect of Rhizobium inoculation treatments on NN varied due to different varieties and experimental locations (Table 2). At Haramaya site, most isolates, except NSCBR-59 and NSCBR-31 inoculations, resulted in significant increase in NN with Dursitu. With Gofta variety, all tested isolates with the exception of isolate NSCBR-59, significantly increased the NN. With exception of NSCBR-31, all isolates resulted in significant increase in NN with Kufanzik genotype.
Table 1

Summary of ANOVA results for all investigated traits of common bean affected by Rhizobium inoculation, locations and common bean genotypes and their interaction, in Haramaya, eastern Ethiopia, during 2012/2013 main cropping season

Sources of variation

df

Mean of squares

NN

NDW

SDW

NPP

NSP

100 seeds weight

GY

TBY

Tot N

Inoculation (I)

9

57820.21***

1.3474***

390.95***

36.19***

0.8309***

5.97***

689219.2***

1901478.7***

0.3843***

Error a

18

6.93

0.0272

1.419

0.436

0.1307

0.2717

36.32

73.8

0.0438

Location (L)

3

162712.69***

12.0138***

18507.05***

24000.08***

8.8561***

222.18***

50871117.8***

303516204.1***

14.8800***

Genotypes (G)

2

99133.02***

4.9526***

1336.97***

192.52***

13.0149***

7713.64***

27841004.6***

13380537.9***

13.9593***

Error b

40

3.45

0.0118

0.903

0.354

0.0669

0.1485

27.32

43.6

0.0195

L × I

27

7791.62***

0.6423***

214.30***

23.12***

0.5278**

3.01***

224350.6***

1314309.9***

0.3052***

G × I

18

6338.46***

0.3683***

369.16***

11.66**

0.5495**

3.00**

1366719.0***

795260.8***

0.2897***

L × G

6

21688.09***

0.2510***

1273.77***

29.85***

1.7977***

74.17***

1234231.0***

2163372.5***

1.8200***

L × G × I

54

9120.29***

0.4940***

309.04***

13.97***

0.4452***

2.90***

208208.5***

639905.5***

0.2491***

Total

359

NN nodule number, NDW nodule dry weight, SDW shoot dry weight, NPP number of pods per plant, NSP number of seeds per pod, GY grain yield, TBY total biomass yield, PH plant height, Tot N total nitrogen

** Significant at 0.01

*** Significant at 0.001

Table 2

Nodule number of common bean investigated from three genotypes (Dursitu, Kufanzik and Gofta) over four experimental locations (Babile, Fedis, Haramaya and Hirna), in eastern Ethiopia, in 2012/2013 main cropping season

Inoculation

Nodule number

Dursitu

Kufanzik

Gofta

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

NSCBR-14

226.67bcd

236.67bcd

101.33c

179.33ab

136.00abc

231.67bc

122.33a

140.67a

95.33 cd

210.00ab

76.00abc

110.00bcd

NSCBR-(25)2

290.00bc

235.00bcd

248.00a

166.67abc

135.33abc

280.00b

119.33ab

152.67a

130.67bc

153.33a-d

92.67a

160.00abc

NSCBR-59

117.00de

363.33a

85.67c

223.33a

96.67c

177.67 cd

112.33abc

176.67a

268.00 a

160.33abc

75.00abc

213.33a

NSCBR-31

178.00cde

269.33abc

80.00c

139.67bcd

116.67bc

366.67a

110.33abc

130.00a

76.00de

110.67bcd

91.67ab

107.00bcd

NSCBR-16

463.33a

201.67 cd

96.33c

171.67abc

145.00ab

246.00bc

98.33a-d

155.00a

93.67 cd

215.00a

85.67ab

189.33ab

NSCBR-18

138.00e

148.33 cd

162.00b

115.00cde

151.00ab

149.33de

90.33bcd

67.33b

100.33 cd

198.33ab

89.33ab

106.87bcd

NSCBR-57

281.67bc

345.00ab

75.00c

151.67bc

143.67ab

199.33 cd

86.00 cd

166.00a

119.67bc

136.67a-d

79.67ab

89.33 cd

NSCBR-25

333.00b

166.67 cd

92.00c

213.33a

160.33a

284.33b

102.33a-d

73.67b

151.67b

183.33abc

86.00ab

132.33a-d

−VE Control

79.33e

140.00d

61.67c

89.33de

47.33de

150.00de

73.00de

70.00b

49.67e

88.33 cd

68.00bc

97.67 cd

+VE Control

54.67e

113.33d

60.33c

73.67e

38.33e

93.00e

53.00e

72.00b

42.67e

55.67d

52.67c

54.67 cd

Mean

216.17

221.93

106.27

152.37

117.03

217.80

96.77

120.00

112.77

151.17

79.67

126.03

LSD (0.05)

126.39

124.57

50.57

60.55

42.8

80.27

30.65

48.51

39.55

103.74

23.72

83.97d

CV (%)

20.22

19.41

16.46

13.74

12.65

12.74

10.95

13.93

12.13

23.74

10.30

23.04

P value

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

F value

25.61

11.70

32.37

16.55

25.37

25.20

12.55

21.16

66.02

6.68

6.85

8.32

Means within the same column followed by the same letter are not significantly different at the 5% probability level by Tukey’s test

−VE-negative control (no inoculation and N application), +VE control −20 kg N ha−1; NSCBR National Soil Common Bean Rhizobium

*** Significant at 0.001

At Hirna site, NSCBR-59, NSCBR-31, and NSCBR-57 inoculations had significantly higher NN than the control check with Dursitu genotype. However, most isolates, except NSCBR-59, NSCBR-18, and NSCBR-57, increased the NN significantly with Gofta. With Kufanzik genotype, a significant increase in NN was recorded in NSCBR-14, NSCBR-16, and NSCBR-18 treatments.

At Babile site, significantly higher NN was recorded with inoculation of NSCBR-(25) and NSCBR-18 with Dursitu than the uninoculated control. Significant increase in NN of Gofta was recorded with NSCBR-14, NSCBR-(25)2, NSCBR-59 and NSCBR-31 treatments. However, NSCBR-(25)2 isolate significantly increased the NN of Kufanzik. At Fedis site, a significant increase in NN of Dursitu inoculated with all isolates with the exception of NSCBR-31 and NSCBR-18 was recorded while NSCBR-14, NSCBR-(25)2, NSCBR-59 and NSCBR-31 isolates inoculated Gofta resulted in an increase in NN.

In general, Dursitu inoculated with all isolates except NSCBR-31, produced the highest number of nodules increase over the uninoculated control while this highest increase with Kufanzik was recorded at NSCBR-31 inoculation (Fig. 1a). However, the highest increase in NN of Gofta over the control check was obtained from NSCBR-59. The highest means of NN (216.17, 221.93, 106.27 and 152.37) were induced with Dursitu at Haramaya, Hirna, Babile and Fedis sites, respectively, over other treatments while the lowest were recorded from uninoculated control at all sites.
Fig. 1

The effect of Rhizobium isolates inoculation on a Nodule number, b Nodule dry weight, c Total biomass yield, d Grain yield and e Total N accumulation of three varieties of common bean, in eastern Ethiopia, 2012/2013 cropping season

Nodule dry weight

The effect of Rhizobium inoculation, the genotypes, experimental locations and their interaction was significant on nodule dry weight (NDW) (Table 1). The effect of inoculated isolates on NDW varied with different genotypes and in the different experimental sites similar to the result obtained in NN (Table 3). At Haramaya site, Dursitu inoculated with all Rhizobium inoculation treatments, except NSCBR-(25)2, NSCBR-59 and NSCBR-18, produced significantly higher NDW than the control check. Inoculating NSCBR-14, NSCBR-(25)2 and NSCBR-16 on the genotype Gofta increased significantly the NDW. However, only NSCBR-59 inoculated with Kufanzik significantly increased NDW when compared to the control check.
Table 3

Nodule dry weight of common bean investigated from three genotypes (Dursitu, Kufanzik and Gofta) over four experimental locations (Babile, Fedis, Haramaya and Hirna), in eastern Ethiopian, in 2012/2013 main cropping season

Inoculation

Nodule dry weight (g plant−1)

Dursitu

Kufanzik

Gofta

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

NSCBR-14

1.9527bc

0.9591b

0.1557b

0.4807b

0.8001ab

1.1745 cd

0.1263bcd

0.5393c

0.2401b

0.2401ef

0.0661bc

0.6500bc

NSCBR-(25)2

1.3644 cd

1.8193a

0.1396b

0.8717a

0.5716bc

1.5471bc

0.2061a

0.3117de

0.3697b

0.5116 cd

0.0876ab

0.3970de

NSCBR-59

0.7400e

1.7659a

0.1451b

0.8983a

0.4329cde

0.5869e

0.1025cde

1.0351a

1.5093a

0.4133de

0.0830ab

1.1167a

NSCBR-31

0.5533e

1.5782a

0.1105b

0.1320c

0.3429cde

2.4817a

0.1670ab

0.5503c

0.2070b

0.4300d

0.0980ab

0.1965ef

NSCBR-16

3.6583a

0.7725bc

0.1449b

0.4413b

1.0363a

1.7070b

0.1107 cd

0.7637b

0.2398b

0.8381b

0.0772ab

0.8187b

NSCBR-18

0.8420de

0.6835bc

0.3122ab

0.3270bc

0.5450 cd

0.7108de

0.0850de

0.2520def

0.5243b

1.1180a

0.1072ab

0.2473def

NSCBR-57

1.3562 cd

1.7729a

0.1380b

0.4897b

0.3997cde

1.2241bc

0.0623ef

0.4250 cd

0.4911b

0.6549bc

0.0630a

0.1145f

NSCBR-25

2.0594b

0.9970b

0.1028b

0.7607a

0.3843cde

1.6599bc

0.1423bc

0.1106f

0.4867b

0.4978 cd

0.0859bc

0.4743 cd

−VE Control

0.4963e

0.6788bc

0.1164b

0.1654c

0.3033de

0.6581e

0.1301bc

0.2500def

0.2405b

0.3342de

0.0640ab

0.3125def

+VE Control

0.3183e

0.5108c

0.5703a

0.1210c

0.2317e

0.3532e

0.0217f

0.1410ef

0.1233b

0.1262f

0.0340bc

0.2661def

Mean

1.3341

1.1538

0.1935

0.4688

0.5048

1.2103

0.1154

0.4379

0.4746

0.5164

0.0766

0.4594

LSD (0.05)

0.606

0.3691

0.3740

0.2659

0.2491

0.5016

0.0435

0.1948

0.4763

0.1896

0.0404c

0.2403

CV (%)

15.71

11.06

66.83

19.62

16.86

14.33

13.03

15.38

34.71

12.70

18.25

18.09

P value

***

***

**

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

F value

70.19

50.09

3.77

30.73

25.20

42.73

36.36

56.34

17.14

59.30

6.67

43.12

Means within the same column followed by the same letter are not significantly different at the 5% probability level by Tukey’s test

−VE-negative control (no inoculation and N application), +VE control −20 kg N ha−1; NSCBR National soil Common Bean Rhizobium

** Significant at 0.01

*** Significant at 0.001

At Hirna site, NSCBR-(25)2, NSCBR-59, NSCBR-31 and NSCBR-57 isolates significantly increased the NDW of Dursitu genotype. All, except NSCBR-(25)2 and NSCBR-18 isolates, significantly increased more NDW with Gofta than with the uninoculated control. With Kufanzik, inoculating NSCBR-16, NSCBR-18 and NSCBR-57 more significantly increased NDW than uninoculated control. At Babile site, none of the isolates with Dursitu and Kufanzik significantly affected the NDW when compared to the control. However, only NSCBR-(25)2 inoculated to Gofta significantly increased the NDW.

At Fedis site, most of the isolates excluding NSCBR-31 and NSCBR-18, significantly improved NDW with Gofta. A significant increase in NDW of Gofta was observed with NSCBR-14, NSCBR-59, NSCBR-31 and NSCBR-16. InoculatingNSCBR-14, NSCBR-59, and NSCBR-16 with Kufanzik were significantly (P ≤ 0.05) enhanced the NDW. With Dursitu, all isolates with the exception of NSCBR-59, NSCBR-31, and NSCBR-18, resulted in the highest increase in NDW over the control check, while better NDW of Kufanzik was obtained with NSCBR-59 and NSCBR-18 (Fig. 1b). Only NSCBR-31 inoculated with Gofta recorded the highest NDW over the control check. The highest NDW across the inoculation treatments was produced with Dursitu.

Total biomass yield

ANOVA revealed that the main effect of Rhizobium inoculation, the genotypes, experimental locations and their interaction were significant (P ≤ 0.05) on total biomass yield (TBY) (Table 1). At Haramaya site, NSCBR-16, NSCBR-57, and NSCBR-25 inoculated to Dursitu significantly increased in the TBY(Table 4). Isolate NSCBR-14 inoculated to Gofta and none of the isolates with Kufanzik resulted in a significant increase in the TBY. At Hirna site, significantly higher TBY of Dursitu was recorded in response to NSCBR-14, NSCBR-59, and NSCBR-31 inoculation than that of the control, while NSCBR-59 and NSCBR-18 inoculations significantly increased TBY of Kufanzik. However, the data exhibited the non-significant effect of inoculation on TBY of Gofta.
Table 4

Total biomass yield of common bean investigated from three genotypes (Dursitu, Kufanzik and Gofta) over four experimental locations (Babile, Fedis, Haramaya and Hirna), in eastern Ethiopian, in 2012/2013 main cropping season

Inoculation

Total biomass yield (kg ha−1)

Dursitu

Kufanzik

Gofta

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

NSCBR-14

5157.4cde

7370.1a

2095.4ab

3414.8 cd

6870.4a

6500.0a

1722.2b

4222.2 cd

6018.5ab

6944.4abc

2342.6 cde

4568.5b

NSCBR-(25)2

5000.0cde

5981.5bcd

1185.2d

3870.4abc

6473.1ab

6270.4a

3301.9a

4796.3ab

5859.3ab

5592.6d

2824.1bc

6111.1a

NSCBR-59

5240.7cde

7388.9a

1555.6bcd

4318.5a

6154.6ab

6740.7a

2591.6ab

3722.2e

6322.2ab

7611.1a

2722.2bcd

5185.2b

NSCBR-31

5101.9cde

6844.4ab

1975.9abc

3648.1bcd

5898.1ab

6837.0a

2000.0b

4481.5abc

5025.9b

6129.6cd

2705.6bcd

4800.0b

NSCBR-16

6388.9b

6314.8bc

1385.2 cd

4179.6ab

5693.5b

6659.3a

3355.6a

4905.6a

5546.3ab

6414.8bcd

1888.9e

5222.2ab

NSCBR-18

4772.4de

5925.9bcd

1946.3bcd

3731.5a-d

5740.7b

6851.9a

2074.1b

4157.4cde

5450.0ab

7348.1ab

2220.4de

5422.2ab

NSCBR-57

7518.5a

5442.6 cd

1694.3bcd

4148.1ab

5497.2b

5840.7a

2063.9b

3907.4de

6495.5a

5787.0d

2351.9cde

4557.4b

NSCBR-25

6064.8bc

5259.3d

1966.7abc

3190.7d

5713.0b

6533.3a

2527.8b

4083.3cde

5685.2ab

6263.0bcd

2948.1b

5074.1b

−VE Control

4685.2e

5463.0 cd

1407.4 cd

3425.9 cd

5675.9b

5492.6a

2037.0b

3851.9de

5954.6ab

5835.2 cd

2294.4cde

4627.8b

+VE Control

5851.9 cd

6537.0ab

2534.7a

3805.6a-d

6023.1ab

6805.6a

3052.8a

4322.2bcd

6101.9ab

7333.3ab

3596.3a

4796.3b

Mean

5578.17

6252.78

1774.66

3773.3

5973.98

6453.15

2472.78

4245.0

5845.94

6525.93

2589.44

5036.48

LSD

1093.4

1002.8

617.77

648.73

1061.1

1421.3

918.92

487.25

1359.4

1143.8

579.93

9.9.78

CV (%)

6.78

5.55

12.04

5.95

6.14

7.62

12.85

3.97

8.04

6.06

7.75

6.25

P value

***

***

***

***

**

*

***

***

*

***

***

***

F value

16.39

15.02

10.78

8.07

3.99

2.61

10.31

16.18

2.56

10.25

17.07

7.04

Means within the same column followed by the same letter are not significantly different at the 5% probability level by Tukey’s test

−VE-negative control (no inoculation and N application), +VE control −20 kg N ha−1; NSCBR National Soil Common Bean Rhizobium

* Significant at 0.05

** Significant at 0.01

*** Significant at 0.001

At Babile site, a significant increase in TBY of Dursitu inoculated with NSCBR-14 was obtained. With Gofta, better TBY than from the uninoculated control was recorded with NSCBR-(25)2 and NSCBR-(16). Kufanzik inoculated with NSCBR-(25)2 gave significantly better TBY than that of the control. Inorganic N application with all genotypes at Babile site produced the highest TBY over the other treatments.

At Fedis site, NSCBR-59, NSCBR-16, and NSCBR-57 inoculated to Dursitu produced significantly higher TBY than the control. Gofta inoculated with NSCBR-(25)2, NSCBR-31 and NSCBR-16 gave significantly higher TBY than the uninoculated control. Inoculating NSCBR-(25)2 resulted in a significant increase in TBY with Kufanzik. In contrast to nodulation, the highest TBY (2589.44 and 5036.48 kg ha−1) across the treatments were produced with Gofta at Babile and Fedis sites. At Haramaya and Hirna sites, all genotypes produced almost similar amount of TBY. With control check, Gofta recorded the highest TBY in all sites. Across locations, Gofta when compared to the other varieties recorded the highest TBY with all treatments (Fig. 1c).

Grain yields

The grain yield (GY) of common bean was significantly (P ≤ 0.05) affected by Rhizobium inoculation, the genotypes, experimental sites and their interaction (Table 1). The effects of isolates on GY were significantly variable among the different genotypes and experimental locations (Table 5). At Haramaya site, Dursitu inoculated with NSCBR-14, NSCBR-16 and NSCBR-57 produced significantly higher GY than the uninoculated control. With Gofta, applying NSCBR-14 resulted in a significant increase in GY compared with the uninoculated control. The response of Kufanzik to inoculation with NSCBR-14, NSCBR-59, NSCBR-16 and NSCBR-18 significantly affected GY.
Table 5

Grain yield of common bean investigated from three genotypes (Dursitu, Kufanzik and Gofta) over four experimental locations (Babile, Fedis, Haramaya and Hirna), in eastern Ethiopian, in 2012/2013 cropping season

Inoculation

Grain yield (kg ha−1)

Dursitu

Kufanzik

Gofta

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

NSCBR-14

2323.1a

2554.35a

1340.6ab

1093.3b

3800.1a

2829.3ab

1098.6d

1607.0abc

3735.6a

3470.6ab

954.0e

2384.4ab

NSCBR-(25)2

2192.9ab

2107.69bcd

653.7c

1285.6ab

3206.5bc

2634.3ab

1987.1a

1801.3ab

3339.8abc

3201.4abc

1657.8abc

2570.0a

NSCBR-59

2059.8abc

2486.94a

796.5c

1616.8a

3105.8bc

2565.6ab

1619.8abc

1716.7abc

3608.7ab

3625.7a

1913.1a

1956.3abc

NSCBR-31

2239.1ab

2132.96bc

1101.2abc

1328.1ab

2915.8bc

2910.8a

1046.6d

1938.8a

3062.1bc

3092.9bc

1631.9abc

2497.4ab

NSCBR-16

2454.9a

2122.41bcd

786.9c

1285.2ab

2983.8bc

2657.0ab

1932.4ab

1693.1abc

3265.8ab

3334.4ab

1080.1de

1776.4bc

NSCBR-18

1683.9c

1803.06de

1054.2bc

1162.4ab

3007.3bc

2817.5ab

1411.9 cd

1615.7abc

3215.7a

3648.0a

1232.8cde

2659.6a

NSCBR-57

2441.9a

1615.56e

892.7bc

1396.7ab

2761.6c

2433.8b

1442.5bcd

1333.8bc

3688.4bc

3096.4bc

1390.0b-e

1577.2c

NSCBR-25

2139.1ab

1918.89 cde

1043.5bc

1097.6b

3195.3bc

2611.5ab

1474.8bcd

1248.6c

3241.9c

2759.7c

1774.9ab

2024.3abc

−VE Control

1873.0bc

1750.93e

790.6c

1063.8b

2727.0c

2534.2ab

1221.9cd

1432.4abc

2932.3c

2739.8c

1490.0a-d

2065.6abc

+VE Control

2263.1ab

2292.59ab

1543.0a

1238.9ab

3375.9ab

2776.4ab

1501.0a-d

1652.2abc

3498.4a

3609.4a

1868.1ab

2537.0a

Mean

2167.07

2078.54

1000.28

1256.83

3107.92

2677.03

1473.66

1603.96

3358.89

3257.82

1499.25

2204.82

LSD

408.32

325.07

473.22

517.43

537.01

452.72

500.47

529.87

582.44

502.05

484.42

734.04

CV (%)

6.51

5.40

16.36

14.24

5.98

5.85

11.75

11.43

6.00

5.33

11.18

11.51

P value

***

***

***

*

***

*

***

**

***

***

***

***

F value

8.86

22.88

8.56

2.65

8.66

2.80

9.87

4.00

5.30

11.44

11.66

6.51

Means within the same column followed by the same letter are not significantly different at the 5% probability level by Tukey’s test

−VE-negative control (no inoculation and N application), +VE control −20 kg N ha−1; NSCBR National soil Common Bean Rhizobium

* Significant at 0.05

** Significant at 0.01

*** Significant at 0.001

At Hirna site, all isolates, except NSCBR-18, NSCBR-57, and NSCBR-25 with Dursitu, resulted in a significant increase in GY while none of the isolates significantly affected the GY of Gofta. Kufanzik inoculated with NSCBR-14, NSCBR-16 and NSCBR-18 significantly increased the GY. At Babile site, NSCBR-14 with Dursitu gave significantly higher GY than the uninoculated control. With Gofta, NSCBR-(25)2 and NSCBR-16 inoculation increased GY significantly. However, the data revealed the non-significant effect of inoculation on the GY of Kufanzik.

At Fedis site, a significant improvement of GY for Dursitu was obtained from inoculation with NSCBR-59, while Rhizobium inoculations did not affect the GY of Gofta and Kufanzik. The highest mean GY of 2932.3, 2739.4, 1490.0 and 2065.6 kg ha−1 were recorded with Gofta in Haramaya, Hirna, Babile and Fedis sites, respectively. In all experimental sites with all treatments including uninoculated control, Gofta produced the highest GY of 3498.4, 3257.82, 1499.25 and 2204.82 kg ha−1 at Haramaya, Hirna, Babile and Fedis over Kufanzik and Dursitu (Fig. 1d).

Total plant N accumulation

ANOVA showed significant (P ≤ 0.05) effect due to Rhizobium inoculation, the genotype, experimental locations and their interaction on total plant N accumulation (TPNA) (Table 1). The effect of Rhizobium inoculation was non-significant on plant N accumulation in Dursitu at Haramaya site (Table 6). At this experimental site, inoculation with NSCBR-16, NSCBR-57 and NSCBR-25 to Gofta significantly improved the plant N accumulation, while this trait was higher in Kufanzik inoculated with NSCBR-59, NSCBR-31, and NSCBR-16 than uninoculated control.
Table 6

Total N accumulation of common bean investigated from three genotypes (Dursitu, Kufanzik and Gofta) over four experimental locations (Babile, Fedis, Haramaya and Hirna), in eastern Ethiopian, in 2012/2013 main cropping season

Inoculation

Total N accumulation (%)

Dursitu

Kufanzik

Gofta

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

Haramaya

Hirna

Babile

Fedis

NSCBR-14

3.4633c

4.0600a-e

2.2967b

3.1533d

2.5300c

4.0300a

2.8933a

2.2733b

2.2567de

3.6667ab

2.2300d

2.7533abc

NSCBR-(25)2

3.3000c

4.3667ab

3.1367abc

3.7767ab

2.3400c

3.3367bcd

2.3567b

3.0700a

2.5900bcd

3.8067ab

2.8800ab

2.9233a

NSCBR-59

3.6433bc

4.0933a-d

2.2700d

3.3067 cd

2.7600bc

2.6667e

2.3600b

3.0733a

2.7400ab

3.8733a

2.5267a-d

2.7933ab

NSCBR-31

3.5267bc

3.4167f

2.5233 cd

3.6433bc

2.5633c

3.5967abc

2.8733ab

3.1533a

2.7167abc

3.4300b

2.4667bcd

2.4367bc

NSCBR-16

3.9367ab

4.0333b-e

3.2400ab

3.7200ab

3.1633ab

3.3433bcd

3.1933a

3.0467a

3.0300a

3.6167ab

2.5567a-d

2.6200abc

NSCBR-18

4.1367a

3.7433def

3.3600a

3.5800bc

2.4333c

3.0567de

3.0967a

3.0767a

2.1567e

3.5967ab

2.6767ab

2.9533a

NSCBR-57

3.5800bc

4.4233a

3.0233abc

3.8300ab

3.1033ab

3.3000bcd

2.8567ab

2.7067ab

2.3267de

3.9200a

2.6667abc

2.5700abc

NSCBR-25

3.6033bc

4.1367abc

3.0233abc

3.6133bc

3.1533ab

3.2100 cd

2.8333ab

3.0333a

2.5233cde

3.6533ab

2.6567abc

2.3867c

−VE Control

3.7400abc

3.7033ef

3.0767abc

2.9133d

2.3100c

3.7500ab

3.7167ab

2.9933a

2.3400de

3.5600ab

2.8933a

2.6300abc

+VE Control

3.3267c

3.9733cde

2.5933bcd

4.1000a

3.5767a

3.8567a

3.0300a

2.8567a

2.3467 cde

3.7667ab

2.2467cd

2.9167a

Mean

3.6257

3.9950

2.8543

3.5637

2.7933

3.4147

2.8210

2.9283

2.5027

3.6890

2.5800

2.6983

LSD

0.4527

0.3881

0.6467

0.4105

0.4878

00.5133

0.5198

0.5252

0.3751

0.4025

0.4235

0.4047

CV (%)

4.32

3.36

7.84

3.98

6.04

5.20

6.37

6.20

5.18

3.77

5.68

5.19

P value

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

**

***

***

F value

8.23

15.55

9.47

18.10

19.54

15.58

7.29

6.33

12.88

3.55

7.16

6.26

Means within the same column followed by the same letter are not significantly different at the 5% probability level by Tukey’s test

−VE-negative control (no inoculation and N application), +VE control −20 kg N ha−1; NSCBR National Soil Common Bean Rhizobium

** Significant at 0.01

*** Significant at 0.001

At Hirna site, a significant increase in plant N accumulation by NSCBR-(25)2, NSCBR-59, NSCBR-57 and NSCBR-25 inoculated with Dursitu was recorded. None of the Rhizobium inoculations significantly affected the plant N accumulation with Gofta and Kufanzik. At Babile site, all Rhizobium inoculations did not improve the TPNA of all the tested genotypes. At Fedis site, all isolates, excluding NSCBR-14 and NSCBR-59 with Dursitu were significantly higher in plant N accumulation than the uninoculated control. However, this trait did not significantly affect when isolates were inoculated to Gofta and Kufanzik. The highest mean total plant N accumulation values of 3.6257, 3.9950, 2.8543 and 3.5637% were recorded with Dursitu in Haramaya, Hirna, Babile and Fedis sites, respectively. Like nodulation, the highest plant tissue N accumulation in all treatments including uninoculated control was recorded with Dursitu genotype (Fig. 1e).

Discussion

Utilizing Rhizobium inoculation for pulses production is a common practice in different part of the world including some countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, the success of this inoculant technology in common bean is variable from location to location. Besides, it depends on common bean genotypes. Due to different rhizobia population size and its competitiveness in different locations and presence of specificity between Rhizobium strain-common bean genotypes (Aouani et al. 1997), we need to develop genotype and location specific Rhizobium inoculant. Hence, this study was initiated to evaluate the effect of genotypes, Rhizobium inoculation and environmental locations on nodulation and productivity of common bean in major common bean growing areas of eastern Ethiopia.

In general, the Rhizobium inoculation, the locations, the common bean genotypes and their interaction effect was significant (P ≤ 0.05) on nodulation, yield and yield traits of common bean (Table 1). This indicates the need for specific Rhizobium isolate development for each of common bean genotype when cultivating in different locations. Similar findings were previously reported on common bean (Handley et al. 1998; Mostasso et al. 2002; Popescu 1998; Remans et al. 2008). This specificity could be due to the fact that the exchanges of chemical signals between the two partners are present. The legume roots exude organic compounds (flavonoids) (Hungria et al. 1997; Long 2001), which differ between plant species and genotypes. Then after, rhizobial bacteria respond with lipo-chitin oligosaccharides, known as Nod factors, which act as specific morphogenetic signal molecules to induce the roots nodule formation (Oldroyd and Downie 2008). In addition, the result of the current study revealed the need for location specific Rhizobium development.

The present study revealed that isolates performed better in improving NN, NDW, TBY, GY and TPNA with one of the tested genotypes did not consistently exhibit with other genotypes, indicating the presence of specificity of Rhizobium isolates and common bean genotypes. Similarly, Bouhmouch et al. (2005) reported the common bean genotypes-Rhizobium specificity. This indicates the presence different infectivity potential of Rhizobium isolates with different common bean genotypes (Neila et al. 2014).

We found that relatively more number of inoculated Rhizobium performed better in NN than the background rhizobia in the Haramaya site than in the other study sites. This indicates the presence of less competitive background rhizobia in infectiveness at Haramaya site than the other study sites. The current study showed that those isolates that performed better in improving NN did not perform similarly in NDW enhancement in all study sites, suggesting that better in infectiveness is not always good in effectiveness. The present work indicated that all isolates including the uninoculated control produced the lowest mean NN and NDW in all genotypes at Babile. This was probably due to low rhizobial population in this site (Ojo et al. 2015) and this consequently reduced the nodule formation. Low nodulation formation might be also attributed to the prevailed adverse environmental condition at Babile site (Hungria et al. 2003). Elias and Herridge (2015) found that rhizobial population was positively correlated with soil moisture. Besides, the soil textural class of Babile soil was sand and had low SOM (Table 1), which could reduce the survival of inoculated Rhizobium in the soil (Hagedorn 1978; Mahler and Wollum 1981). However, Bliss (1993) suggested that the limitation of N2 fixation imposed by environmental factors could be resolved through the selection and breeding of improved common bean cultivars.

The highest NN and NDW in the control without inoculation were produced with Dursitu at Haramaya and Hirna sites and Kufanzik at Babile and Gofta at Fedis site. This suggests the presence of appropriate indigenous rhizobia, which could be different in infectiveness and effectiveness in different soils. Rodiño et al. (2011) determined common bean variety and variety × environment interaction effect on nodulation. A similar finding was reported in common bean in Canadian Prairie by Nleya et al. (2009) who found that common bean genotypes differed in nodulation formation. In addition, Ikeda (1999) found that the number of nodules was directly controlled by host genotype. This preference could have a major significance in resolving strain competition problem in Phaseolus vulgaris (Raposeiras et al. 2006).

The result of the present work indicated that those isolates induced the highest nodulation with one genotype was not consistently performed with the other genotypes. Similarly, Bonish and MacFarlane (1987) demonstrated that isolates mean effectiveness of 12% with ‘Tamar’ variety was recorded and 87% mean effectiveness with Huia variety. Differences in host variety among clover lines influence the effectiveness of the symbiosis (Hagedorn and Caldwell 1981; Sherwood and Masterson 1974).

The highest mean NN and NDW across locations and with all treatments including uninoculated control were produced in Dursitu. Dursitu at Haramaya, Babile and Fedis sites and Kufanzik at Hirna site induced the highest mean NDW across the treatments. This indicates the presence of more infectiveness by inoculated Rhizobium and background rhizobia with Dursitu rather than other tested genotypes. This might be attributed to the high promiscuity of Dursitu with several rhizobial species (Cardoso et al. 2012) apparently resulting from the capacity of the host plant to perceive a genotype of rhizobial molecular signals (Michiels et al. 1998). Significant environment by inoculant interaction effect on nodule dry weight was reported by Nleya et al. (2009). Therefore, the current work found the presence of Rhizobium isolate-genotype specificity in nodule production in a different location.

The result of the present study indicated the highest mean total plant N accumulation across treatments including uninoculated control was recorded in Dursitu as it was found in nodulation. Similar results have been previously reported by lentil and pea (Abi-Ghanem et al. 2011). This implies that improving nodulation is important traits to enhance the total N in plant tissue. Variation in plant N accumulation among genotypes could be due to the presence of variability in SNF among common bean genotypes (Hardarson et al. 1993; Nleya et al. 2002). Yadegari et al. (2010) found that Cultivar ‘Akhtar’ demonstrated the highest potential for nodulation, nitrogen fixation, and seed yield production compared to cultivars ‘Sayyad’ and ‘Goli’. Buttery et al. (1997) also compared 17 common bean genotypes inoculated with various Rhizobium strains for N fixation and they found differences among genotypes in acetylene reduction activity and seed N content.

In contrast to the finding in nodulation, the mean TBY and GY across locations were the highest in Gofta. This genotype also produced the highest mean TBY and GY across treatments including uninoculated control. The highest biomass and grain production in all experimental locations was also recorded with Gofta. This finding is consistent with the observation of Tsai et al. (1993) who found that Mexico-309 was superior for nodulation parameters but poor for seed yield, while Preto Caruaru produced high seed yield, but was inferior in nodulation traits. The yield advantage of Gofta could be attributed to its delayed maturity when compared to other tested common bean genotypes. Due to genetic makeup difference among common bean genotypes, it may record high production though induced low nodulation (Pereira et al. 1984). Conversely, Rodiño et al. (2011) found that genotypes with a big nodule phenotype showed a good plant response and more beneficial for plant growth and seed yield. In contrast to the current study, Farid and Navabi (2015) found the common bean genotypes × environment interaction for grain yield production.

Regardless of the tested genotypes, the highest TBY at Babile site was recorded with inorganic N treatment. Similarly, Hungria et al. (2003) found further increase of common bean production on average by 132 kg ha−1 with a supplement of 15 kg N ha−1 over the inoculated plants. In other experimental sites, a significant increase in TBY was obtained with Rhizobium inoculation. Similarly, Huntington et al. (1986) found that Rhizobium inoculation increased the yield by 30–80% in common bean using when compared to N fertilizer plant. In contrast to the current finding, Ruiz Diaz et al. (2009) found that the non-significant effect of inorganic N application with and without inoculation on the yield of soybean n though plant N accumulation was improved. This result could be attributed to high N2 derived from the atmosphere by soybean when compared to common bean.

It has been shown that none of the inoculated Rhizobium significantly improved the plant accumulated N at Babile when compared to the uninoculated control. This result could be attributed to dry condition and low soil moisture availability in Babile (Saito et al. 1984; Smith et al. 1985, 1988) and this cause early nodules senescence and decline in nitrogenase activity (Becana and Sprent 1987) and low N2 fixation. On the other hand, the Rhizobium inoculation at other experimental locations significantly increased plant N accumulation. This result could be attributed to the fact that more than 50% of its plant N accumulated was derived from biological N2 fixation when inoculated with effective Rhizobium under favorable condition (Pena-cabriales et al. 1993).

Some of the isolates inoculated to Dursitu accumulated significantly higher plant N than the uninoculated control but this result was not observed with the remaining genotypes. Previously investigations under field conditions (Hobbs and Mahon 1982; Rengel 2002; Young et al. 1982) have shown that some Rhizobium isolates are more efficient when inoculated on some genotypes than on others. Huntington et al. (1986) concluded from their greenhouse study that the host/endophyte combination forms a relatively ineffective symbiotic association being primarily inherent in the host plant rather than the endophyte or the environment. The current result is also consistent with the findings of Hungria and Neves (1987); Hardarson et al. (1993) and Neves et al. (1987) who found that plant N concentration in different pulse crops is influenced by the host plant cultivar as well as by Rhizobium strain. Graham (1981) and Amarger (1986) found that nitrogen fixation depends on rhizobia × line interaction and that the process of selection of efficient rhizobia should be developed with adequate lines.

Conclusion

The result of this experiment showed the presence of Rhizobium strain × locations specificity. Besides, the result exhibited the need for different Rhizobium isolate for tested common bean genotypes. The result indicated the similar performance of all common beans varieties in most of the investigated traits, except nodulation, regardless of the experimental locations. This suggests the need for specific Rhizobium strain development for biofertilizer production for different locations. Hence, we recommend the development of location-based Rhizobium isolates for inoculants production.

Declarations

Authors’ contributions

AA planned, designed and conducted the field experiment; AA and DM analyzed the data using appropriate software and prepared the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, under Biofertilizer and Organic Fertilizer Research Project. The authors would like to express their sincere thanks to field and technical assistants for their field experiment management and data collection.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
School of Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Haramaya University
(2)
Holleta Agricultural Research Center, Ethiopia Institute of Agricultural Research

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