N2AFRICA Rhizobiology Activities at ISAR, Rwanda: June 2011

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The ISAR Microbiology Laboratory leads N2Africa rhizobiology activities in Rwanda and liaises with related actions in DR Congo and Rwanda. The team at ISAR is responsible for both Agronomy (Objective 2) and Rhizobiology (Objective 3) activities in Rwanda. The Microbiology Laboratory has cultured 80 isolates from bean and soyabean. Twenty-nine of these isolates were characterized and classified by Congo Red morphotype, BTB reaction and Gram Srain. To date, bio-prospecting has focused solely upon common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and soyabean (Glycine max), but 11 other genera and related species in Rwanda were sampled by the University of Nairobi MIRCEN team, reducing this possible additional shortcoming. Seven hundred (700) packets of bean inoculant containing 80 g each were recently prepared (56 kg total) for use by project research and dissemination activities in the next growing season. The Soil Microbiology Laboratory of ISAR in Rubona had a strong presence in Rhizobiology in Africa in the past, but one that was slow to become restored following civil unrest in the country. The laboratory occupies a well designed building and has assembled a team of ambitious young scientists who must now demonstrate their ability to perform the full spectrum of microbiology skills. This team is led by Ms. Mathilde Uwizerwa, a recent M.Sc. graduate in Soil Science and consists of three other trained members, Felix Nzeyimana (Agronomist), Claire Uwitonze (Lab and Field Technician) and Olivier Niyomugabo (Lab Technician).

By Mathilde Uwizerwa and Paul L. Woomer