Results and Discussions

The wild herb legume (M indicus) is widely-distributed. The most effective nitrogen-fixing herb legumes were: Melilotus indicus, Melilotus siculus, Medicago intertexta and Trifolium resupinatum. The nitrogen-fixing ability of these legumes ranged between 1.4-3.3 pmol C2H4 pr'h"1 compared to about 0.6 for the cultivated legume Vicia faba. The legumes M. siculus, M. intertexta and L. corniculatus were observed growing in the salt-affected soils in association with some halophytes such as Spergularia marina, Car ex divisia and Hordeum leporinum. In salt-affected soils, Na is accumulated in higher amounts, other minerals such as Mg, Fe, Cu and Mn were also available in salt-affected soils. The herb legumes accumulated higher content of protein (about 103 mg/g dry weight at M. indicus). The wild herb legumes (L. corniculatus and M. indicus) kept higher levels of nitrogenase activity (about 12 and 6 pmol C2H4 pf1 h"1) under salt stress. Nodule structure of L. corniculatus was resistant to salt stress up to 100 mM NaCl, but less tolerant to 200 mM NaCl, infected cells were distorted and some of them were disrupted. The wild herb legumes established successful (effective) symbiotic nitrogen-fixing systems under the conditions prevailing in Egypt.

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