Conditioned medium was obtained from suspension cultures of soybean (Glycine max L. Merrit) cells after incubating them for 4 to 8 days with rhizobia which were separated from the soybean cells by two dialysis bags, one within another. This conditioned medium from the plant cell side (PCM) of the two membranes was used to elicit and influence nitrogenase activity (acetylene reduction) in rhizobia. When conditions for obtaining PCM from the soybean cell suspension cultures were varied, it could be shown that freshly grown rhizobia were able to induce active compounds in the PCM. These compounds caused acetylene reduction activity in test rhizobia under conditions where control rhizobia, containing various substrates, showed little or no acetylene reduction activity. Rhizobia that were already capable of acetylene reduction could not induce such compounds in the PCM when this was included with test rhizobia. The PCM from soybean cultures was also found to aid the expression of nitrogenase activity in suspension cultures of rhizobia normally associated with either peas, lupins, broad beans, or clovers. This is the first communication indicating nitrogenase activity in freeliving cultures for various species of rhizobia
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