Population dynamics of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar trifolii (R62: :Tn5) was studied in laboratory experiments after the introduction into sterilized and non-sterilized loamy sand and silt loam. Part of the sterilized soil was recolonized by adding a group of bacterial isolates. A flagellate, which was cultured on rhizobial cells, was added to sterilized as well as to recolonized sterilized soil. The rhizobial number was influenced little by the recolonization with bacteria or by the addition of flagellates alone. However, when both flagellates and bacteria were present, rhizobial populations were reduced significantly as compared to sterilized soil. This reduction was more than the sum of both effects separately. Nevertheless, populations of rhizobia were still higher than in natural soil. Competition and predation were also found to influence the percentage of rhizobia which were associated with soil particles and aggregates >50 μm, which were separated with the use of a standardized soil washing procedure.
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