SUMMARY: Earlier studies of the antigenic determinants of Rhizobium were almost entirely concerned with agglutinogens and revealed considerable strain specificity, the recognition of which was enhanced by a distinction between flagellar and somatic antigens (Bushnell & Sarles, 1939; Vincent, 1941, 1942; Kleczkowski & Thornton, 1944; Purchase, Vincent & Ward, 1951; Means, Johnson & Date, 1964). In some cases this specificity depended on complex patterns of shared antigens, in others on complete non-cross reactivity between strains that belonged to the same species. Agglutination could not therefore be depended on for the recognition of species or groups of species of rhizobia. On the other hand, the technique has proved valuable for the definition of serotypes and the labelling of strains used for experimental purposes.


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