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Back to the future: Using herbarium specimens to isolate nodule associated bacteria
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  • Renee Helen Petipas,
  • Amanda A. Antoch,
  • A.N. Eaker,
  • Hanna Kehlet-Delgado,
  • Maren Friesen
Renee Helen Petipas
Washington State University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Amanda A. Antoch
University of Washington
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A.N. Eaker
Washington State University
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Hanna Kehlet-Delgado
Washington State University
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Maren Friesen
Washington State University
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Herbarium specimens are increasingly being used as sources of information to understand the ecology and evolution of plants and their associated microbes. Most studies have used specimens as a source of genetic material using culture independent approaches. We demonstrate that herbarium specimens can also be used to culture nodule-associated bacteria, opening the possibility of using specimens to understand plant-microbe interactions at new spatiotemporal scales. We used historic and contemporary nodules of a common legume, Medicago lupulina, to create a culture collection. We were able to recover historic bacteria in 15 genera from three specimens (collected in 1950, 2004, and 2015). This work is the first of its kind to isolate historic bacteria from herbarium specimens. Future work should include inoculating plants with historic strains to see if they produce nodules and if they affect plant phenotype and fitness. Although we were unable to recover any Ensifer, the main symbiont of Medicago lupulina, we recovered some other potential nodulating species, as well as many putative growth-promoting bacteria.
01 Nov 2023Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
03 Nov 2023Assigned to Editor
03 Nov 2023Submission Checks Completed
15 Nov 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned