U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Published in Plant Physiology 82:346-350 (1986).


Physiological and biochemical markers of metabolic competence were assayed in bacteroids isolated from root nodules of control, dark-stressed, and recovered plants of Glycine max Merr. cv `Woodworth.' Nitrogenase-dependent acetylene reduction by the whole plant decreased to 8% of control rates after 4 days of dark stress and could not be detected in plants dark stressed for 8 days. However, in bacteroids isolated anaerobically, almost 50% of initial acetylene reduction activity remained after 4 days of dark stress but was totally lost after 8 days of dark stress. Bacteroid acetylene reduction activity recovered faster than whole plant acetylene reduction activity when plants were dark stressed for 8 days and returned to a normal light regimen. Significant changes were not measured in bacteroid respiration, protein content, sodium dodecyl sulfatepolyacrylamide gel electrophoresis protein profiles, or in bacteroid proteolytic activity throughout the experiment. Immunoblots of bacteroid extracts revealed the presence of nitrogenase component II in control, 4-day dark-stressed, and 8-day dark-stressed plants that were allowed to recover under a normal light regimen, but not in 8-day dark-stressed plants. Our data indicate that dark stress does not greatly affect bacteroid metabolism or induce bacteroid senescence.