A total of 63 strains of rhizobia isolated from Hainan Province, a tropical region of the People's Republic of China, and 27 representative strains belonging to the genera , and were compared by performing numerical taxonomy, DNA hybridization, and DNA base composition analysis to determine the relationships among these rhizobia. The results indicated that the strains isolated from Hainan Province fell into two distinct phena, the slowly growing rhizobia and the fast-growing rhizobia. The slowly growing rhizobia, which formed three subphena that seemed to be three subspecies, are strains. The fast-growing strains belong to the genus and might be further divided into three specific groups. Sometimes both slowly growing rhizobia and fast-growing rhizobia were isolated from host plants belonging to the same genus or species or even from the same nodule. There was no correlation between hosts and the distribution of rhizobia in the subphena. Isolates obtained from members of the same host genus or species fell into different groups or subgroups.


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