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N2-fixing cyanobacterial diversity and distribution in forest soils of Upper Assam, India

Arjun Adhikari, P. P. Baruah*


Cyanobacteria comprise a large group of structurally complex and ecologically significant gram-negative prokaryotes which flourish in almost all conceivable habitats. Some of the cyanobacterial taxa are capable of fixing the atmospheric nitrogen and their presence in various ecosystems is thought to maintain the nitrogen-level in the soil. The present study deals with the diversity of nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria in forest soils of Upper Assam (India). The soil samples were collected from five different reserve forests of the region. Altogether, 18 N2-fixing cyanobacterial taxa belonging to 8 genera were isolated, of which 5 were heterocystous and 3 were non heterocystous genera. Nostoc and Anabaena were the most abundant genera (23%, 4 species), followed by Oscillatoria (17%, 3 species). Canonical Correspondence analysis (CCA) showed that the occurrence of cyanobacterial species was influenced mostly by pH, temperature, organic carbon and nitrogen.


Cyanobacteria; diversity; reserve forests; Upper Assam

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