Occurrence and diversity of Frankia in Tunisian soil

Maher Gtari*, Daniele Daffonchio, Abdellatif Boudabous

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


There is a lack of studies on the occurrence and diversity of Frankia in African soils, including those in northern African regions. The present study on Tunisian soils is an attempt to address this issue using Alnus glutinosa, Elaeagnus angustifolia and Casuarina glauca in a plant capturing bioassay on 30 soil samples, followed by amplified 16S ribosomal DNA restriction pattern analysis (ARDRA). A total of seven ARDRA haplotypes of Frankia have been detected in root actinorhizas that have been affiliated to theoretical ARDRA haplotypes upon in silico digestion of selected 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequences retrieved from GeneBank and confirmed by their partial 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Elaeagnus-compatible Frankia isolates were widespread and form four ARDRA haplotypes affiliated to Frankia, colonizing Elaeagnaceae and Rhamnaceae in two different phylogenetic subgroups. Alnus-compatible strains occurring in northern subhumid area were closely related to Alnus-Morella-compatible strains and clustered in two ARDRA haplotypes. Casuarina-compatible strains lack variability in several northern arboreta. The relatively wide diversity of Tunisian Frankia strains opens the perspective that African soil could be an interesting reservoir for the isolation of new actinorhizal strains that could be used as potential biofertilizers to counteract the progressive soil desertification which indeed is a crucial environmental problem in Northern Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-379
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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