Isolation of a strain of Agrobacterium tumefaciens (Rhizobium radiobacter) utilizing methylene urea (ureaformaldehyde) as nitrogen source

Marja E. Koivunen, Christophe Morisseau, William R. Horwath, Bruce D. Hammock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Methylene ureas (MU) are slow-release nitrogen fertilizers degraded in soil by microbial enzymatic activity. Improved utilization of MU in agricultural production requires more knowledge about the organisms and enzymes responsible for its degradation. A Gram-negative, MU-degrading organism was isolated from a soil in Sacramento Valley, California. The bacterium was identified as Agrobacterium tumefaciens (recently also known as Rhizobium radiobacter) using both genotypic and phenotypic characterization. The pathogenic nature of the organism was confirmed by a bioassay on carrot disks. The MU-hydrolyzing enzyme (MUase) was intracellular and was induced by using MU as a sole source of nitrogen. The bacterial growth was optimized in NH4Cl, urea, or peptone, whereas the production and specific activity of MUase were maximized with either NH4Cl or urea as a nitrogen source. The result has a practical significance, demonstrating a potential to select for this plant pathogen in soils fertilized with MU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Agrobacterium tumefaciens
  • Isolation
  • Methylene urea
  • Nitrogen
  • Rhizobium radiobacter
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Soil
  • Ureaformaldehyde

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Isolation of a strain of Agrobacterium tumefaciens (Rhizobium radiobacter) utilizing methylene urea (ureaformaldehyde) as nitrogen source'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this