School of Agriculture University of Buenos Aires

National Microorganism Bank

The institute is the headquarters of the National Microorganism Bank (BNM), the discriminating characteristic of which is that it possesses one of the the largest national collection of rhizobia, symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria and other bacteria with similar functions. It also houses a significant variety of colonizing bacteria of tropical legume stems (Aeschynomene), used as livestock forage in various provinces of Argentina, such as Chaco, Formosa and Corrientes. The existing collection indicates that the BNM constitutes a national reference center for these bacteria. It might be recalled that bacteria that transform atmospheric nitrogen into nitrogenous organic compounds are the sole natural source of this essential crop nutrient that can be increased / augmented by humankind. Their importance is crucial since the nitrogen supply via this route reduces the application of synthetic nitrogen sources to ecological and agricultural systems.

The Bank includes collections of additional microorganisms that possess other characteristics and functions, amongst which can be found an extensive collection of bacteria of the genus Azospirillum, which are photosynthetic bacteria with antifungal properties important in the design of control strategies of fungi in commercially important crops. The collection of bacteria maintained by BNM not only originates from internationally recognized stock centers (ATCC in the USA and DSMZ in Germany), but also from our own isolates generated from natural sources. Hence the Bank is a repository for a large number of species and strains isolated in Argentina, which makes it a unique store of organisms naturally adapted to our environment.

The storage and maintenance system are currently being remodeled and in addition the Bank has for some time provided a descriptive catalogue of the collection, which for some genera includes chromosomic DNA fingerprint data obtained through PCR techniques carried out using general primers for Gram negative microorganisms. The BNM is registered in the World Data Centre for Microorganisms (WDCM).

The aim of INBA in this area is the consolidation of a microbial collection of national and international reference, in which the isolation of native strains of genera of agronomic interest is gradually increased and conserved in viable conditions that always ensure the identity of each strain. The collection could therefore be used for research purposes or technological applications with the full guarantee of BNM.

The curator of BNM is Dr. Marcela Montecchia and the technician is Mr. Jorge Gastón. Dr. Marcelo Soria is consultant in information technology and the overall director is Ing. Agr. Raúl S. Lavado.

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