MgtE is predicted to be a Rhizobium leguminosarum channel and is essential for growth when both Mg²? is limiting and the pH is low. N2was only fixed at 8% of the rate of wild type when the crop legume Pisum sativum was inoculated with an mgtE mutant of R. leguminosarum and, although bacteroids were present, they were few in number and not fully developed. R. leguminosarum MgtE was also essential for N2fixation on the native legume Vicia hirsuta but not when in symbiosis with Vicia faba. The importance of MgtE and the relevance of the contrasting phenotypes is discussed.