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Research article2005Peer reviewedOpen access

Physiological and molecular diversity of feather moss associative N-2-fixing cyanobacteria

Gentili F, Nilsson MC, Zackrisson O, DeLuca TH, Sellstedt A


Cyanobacteria colonizing the feather moss Pleurozium schreberi were isolated from moss samples collected in northern Sweden and subjected to physiological and molecular characterization. Morphological studies of isolated and moss-associated cyanobacteria were carried out by light microscopy. Molecular tools were used for cyanobacteria identification, and a reconstitution experiment of the association between non-associative mosses and cyanobacteria was conducted. The influence of temperature on N-2 fixation in the different cyanobacterial isolates and the influence of light and temperature on N-2-fixation rates in the moss were studied using the acetylene reduction assay. Two different cyanobacteria were effectively isolated from P. schreberi: Nostoc sp. and Calothrix sp. A third genus, Stigonema sp. was identified by microscopy, but could not be isolated. The Nostoc sp. was found to fix N-2 at lower temperatures than Calothrix sp. Nostoc sp. and Stigonema sp. were the predominant cyanobacteria colonizing the moss. The attempt to reconstitute the association between the moss and cyanobacteria was successful. The two isolated genera of cyanobacteria in feather moss samples collected in northern Sweden differ in their temperature optima, which may have important ecological implications

Published in

Journal of Experimental Botany
2005, Volume: 56, number: 422, pages: 3121-3127 Publisher: OXFORD UNIV PRESS

      SLU Authors

      • Zackrisson, Olle

        • Department of Forest Vegetation Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
        • De Luca, Tom

          • Department of Forest Vegetation Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

        UKÄ Subject classification

        Forest Science

        Publication identifier


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