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December 18, 2011

Yesterday I wrote about the N2Africa project, which aims to spread the practical benefits of nitrogen fixation in African agriculture.  Lionel Moulin replied with a comment pointing out that the IRD (the French national research institute for development) also works on nitrogen fixation in Africa.  They have a base in Senegal, and also have collaborators and projects in North Africa.  In fact, IRD operates in the ‘South’ all over the world, though Africa may be their biggest concern.

Is there anyone reading this blog in Africa?  If so, please write a comment to tell us what you are doing with rhizobia.


From → Agriculture

  1. Dr. Hukam Singh Gehlot permalink

    I had seen the uploaded pictures on N2 fix in Africa’s agriculture. It was nice to see and listen Prof. Janet, Euan, Ken Giller and others, Ton Bisslingall that. We are also working on microsymbiont of native legumes of the arid regions of Western Rajasthan in the Indian Thar desert.This area has not been studied. As most of the deserts, soil here is alkaline throughout and predominated rhizobial microsymbiont is species of Sinorhizobium other than Bradyrhizobium and Rhizobium. Probably new indefenous species of Sinorhizobium nodulating number of wild as well as legume crop plants in this region. May be due to aridity/dry conditions microsymbionts are showing high production of EPS. Prof. Janet, Euan James and Australian group working at Center for Rhizobium Studies are our collaborators. Thanks Prof. Peter Young for the nice interactive web site/blog to update in the field of N dixation.—-hs gehlot, Jodhpur India

  2. Sameh Heikal permalink

    Dear professor Young,
    First of all I would like to congratulate and thank Professor Young for this amazing blog. Actually I always keep following your news and their related interactive comments especially the last one about N2 fixation in Africa. I watched the media on their website; I was so pleased with their quality and by the efforts that have been done in my continent. I want to talk frankly about my current status in my country, as a part of Africa, Egypt. Most current research programs in this growing continent depend on the external funds coming from USA and Europe either from their governments and/or international (FAO) and private foundation in a shape of joint programs. However, this cooperation in some cases did not applied in a fair way to Africa. In most of these programs the African partners just take the charge of mining, exploration and collection their genetic resources (plant, animal and microorganism).Nevertheless, the fine art of science is carried on at the other side. Nowadays, Africa is changed, the politic spring came to the North and we wish to get in motion to every part in the continent, we will need the help of science and scientist to prove our success. We need to develop our knowledge and take a real chance to enter the next generation of science and to be a part of the international scientific convoy. Three years ago, I was worked on my PhD entitled “Genotypic characterization of soybean nodulating rhizobia in Egypt”. I faced many constraints and without the directions of Professor Young this thesis wouldn’t come true. I think most of African scientists in need to such valuable directions to can work in right way. We have the willpower and intention and need your experience. I wish this interactive blog be a window to enlarge the scientific cooperation in Africa. Most of the blog participants are pioneers in their countries, I am looking forward to make a N2 fixation database involve the participants details and their field of interest to can link our current research programs, create the opportunities to help each other and exchange ideas to get the benefit of N2 fixation phenomenon to small holders in rural areas. Next time, if anyone is interested, I will gave a hint of our current programs in Rhiozbium laboratory at Microbial Genetic Resources Dept., National Gene Bank, Egypt. Finally I apologize for this long comment.
    Sameh Heikal
    phD holder, Africa

    • Thank you, Sameh, for these interesting comments. I applaud your ideas for developing stronger links among nitrogen fixation researchers in Africa, and it is clear that there are others who are also thinking the same. Besides the N2Africa project that I mentioned in my blog, there is the African Association for Biological Nitrogen Fixation. They hosted the 15th International Congress on Nitrogen Fixation in Cape Town in 2007, which I was lucky enough to attend, and also organise their own conferences – the next one will be in Nairobi in 2012 ( Are any members of the AABNF reading this blog? Do you have more information about the Association?

      I should say that I was privileged to read Sameh Heikal’s PhD thesis earlier this year. It describes a very nice study of diversity in soybean rhizobia that he carried out at his university in Egypt, which proves that the “fine art of science” can be carried on very successfully within Africa. Congratulations, Sameh! Keep up the good work!


  3. Girmaye Kenasa permalink

    I am very pleased to see such kind of cross talk between professionals. I did my M.Sc. research on Vicia faba rhizobia(Highland crop) of Ethiopia. Now I am 1st year PhD student to work on Cowpea and Groundnut rhizobia in Ethiopia.
    Just I need comment and advice of professionals on the area. I like to extend my appreciation for prof.Young expecting much form you for my success.

    Girmaye Kenassa, Ethiopia

    • Malika LEHAMEL DJEBARA permalink

      I am personally invested in agronomic and genotypic characterisation of rhizobia nodulating Vigna unguiculata L. (walp) and Arachis hypogaea L. in order to promote their crop which is very neglected in Algeria and in order of their conservation.

      Arachis hypogaea L. is introduced at the Northeast of Algeria by italian people at the beginning of the 20th century whereas Vigna unguiculata L. (walp) is endemic.

      I will come back to Sameh HEIKAL with details about aabnf.

      Malika LEHAMEL
      Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Biological Sciences of the University of Sciences and Technology Houari BOUMEDIENE:

      Researcher at the department of phytotechny of the National School of Agronomy:

      • Girmaye Kenasa permalink

        Good! so, lets work together and share ideas.

  4. Professor Peter YOUNG,

    The studies about rhizobia in Algeria, concern mainly the agronomic impact of selected rhizobia on the growth of legumes under abiotic factors.However, they are limited to experimental assay in greenhouses and sometimes in experimental parcels, but never in situ.
    There is few data about ecological and phylogeny relationships of Brady(rhizobial) strains of almost legumes in Algeria, although in this last decade there has been an increasing amount of research focused on bacteria that nodulate legumes in our country.

    Malika LEHAMEL

    • Thanks, Malika! Thanks Girmaye, too, for your recent comment! It is good to get information on what is going on in different countries, so if you are in Africa, feel free to use the comments on this post to let everyone know what what you are doing.


  5. Malika LEHAMEL DJEBARA permalink

    Okay Girmaye, but regarding the phylogenetic aspects, I am afraid that I am not the right person as we are ourselves dependent on foreign laboratories specialized in the field.
    Malika LEHAMEL

    • Girmaye Kenasa permalink

      Thank you! Malika,
      How is your molecular laboratory, what kinds of experiment you can do there?
      Whatever the case, we shall exchange ideas since we are doing on the same cultivar but different countries.

      Girmaye kenassa

  6. Malika LEHAMEL DJEBARA permalink

    Dear Girmaye,

    I think that for specific questions on our research, we would have exchanged our email addresses. I guess the purpose of this blog is to exchange points of view on general scientific issues.

    Malika LEHAMEL

  7. Yes, this blog is for everyone to read, so it is a good place to reach rhizobium researchers around the world. Comments made here are public. For a private conversation, use email.


  8. Im reading from africa. Im a soil science MSc student at egerton university in kenya. My intended research is to characterize and test indigenous rhizobia from Malawi. Ive been working as an agronomist under the N2Africa project in Malawi from 2010 to May of this year.

  9. D.K.Maheshwari permalink

    Dear Researchers,
    I could observe this blog created by Professor Peter Young. Infact, lot of taxonomic work has been initiated on rhizobia and other similar genera as evidenved by web search. we have now more than 90 species. No doubt still lot of diverse nodulating N fixers are unexplored from different genera and species of members of family fabaceae, particularly those growing in remote area (s) such as high altitudes of himalaya in India. I live near the vicinity of W. himalaya and could explore few as evidenced by joint publications, reported two new species of Ensifer from India. Due to certain constrains, could not do much more but still have several unpublished one from Macrotyloma, Clitoria, mucuna and Phaseolous vulgaris. Interested workers having good writing skill are invited to join us as collaborator. Yes, we had reported Burkholderia, a beta proteobacteria from Mimosa pudica.
    good wishes,

  10. Dear professor Young,
    I am researcher (assistant professor)- Just now I read your statement and request- I am working in the biofertilization department, Environment Natural Resources and Desertification Research Institute- National Centre for Research (NCR), Khartoum-Sudan since 1994 when the department was just a Biological Nitrogen Fixation lab. established since 1992 where we carry out research experiments on the efficiency of different rhizobial strains (indigenous, introduced) on different leguminous crops. We also test the suitability of different local materials as bacterial carriers as well, we provide training for researchers,university students and agricultural extension workers. We produce rhizobial inoculants for farmers and agricultural production companies. Now our department has four units : 1- symbiotic N2 fixation 2- non-symbiotic N2 fixation 3- phosphate solubilization and 4- soil bioremediation. We have few hundred indigenous strains of all four units.

    • Thanks for that interesting information. I hope that others involved in Africa may make contact with you, and will also let us know what they are doing.

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