Nitrogen fixation in legumes

Nitrogen fixation in legumes:

It is the commonest kind of symbiotic nitrogen fixation that has been highly studied. A soil bacterium termed as Rhizobium infects roots of leguminous plants (belonging to Family Leguminosae) and made the root nodules.

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 Figure: Nodulated root

These are included in nitrogen fixation. The bacteria living in the soil go into the root hair and penetrate the root cortex via an infection thread. Whenever the bacteria enter the cortical cells of roots, the latter acquire stimulated to divide vigorously and form nodules on the root. The bacteria come to engage the nodules, and at this phase lack a rigid cell wall being termed as bacteroids. These make utilizations of the food substances of the root cells and secrete a pinkish pigment termed as leg-hemoglobin that is an oxygen carrier similar to hemoglobin.

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Figure: Mode of development of root nodule

The Rhizobia in the form of bacteroides include the enzyme nitrogenase that is responsible for the fixation of Nitrogen therefore benefitting the host plant. Leghemoglobin is assumed to protect the nitrogenase enzyme as it can function merely under anaerobic conditions.

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