Sulphonamides contamination of cultivated lands occurs through the recurrent spreading of animal wastes from intensive farming. The aim of this study was to test the effect(s) of sulphadimethoxine on the beneﬁcial N-ﬁxing Rhizobium etli–Phaseolus vulgaris symbiosis under laboratory conditions. The consequence of increasing concentrations of sulphadimethoxine on the growth ability of free-living R. etli bacteria, as well as on seed germination, seedling development and growth of common bean plants was examined.We have established that sulphadimethoxine inhibited the growth of both symbiotic part- ners in a dose-dependent manner. Bacterial invasion occurring in developing root nodules was visualized by ﬂuorescence microscopy generating EGFP-marked R. etli bacteria. Our results proved that the development of symbiotic N-ﬁxing root nodules is hampered by sulphadimethoxine thus identifying sulphona mides as toxic compounds for the Rhizobium–legume symbiosis: a low-input sustainable agricultural practice.
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