Only some strains of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae can efficiently nodulate varieties of peas such as cv. Afghanistan, which carry a recessive allele that blocks efficient nodulation by most western isolates of R.I. viciae. One strain (TOM) which can nodulate cv. Afghanistan peas has a gene (nodX) that is required to overcome the nodulation resistance. Strain TOM makes significantly lower amounts of lipo-oligosaccharide nodulation factors than other strains of R.I. viciae and this effect appears to be due to lower levels of nod gene induction. These nodulation factors are similar to those from other R.I. viciae strains in that they consist of an oligomer of four or five beta 1-4-linked N-acetylglucosamine residues in which the terminal non-reducing glucosamine carries an O-acetyl group and a C18:4 or C18:1 N-acyl group. However, one of the nodulation factors made by strain TOM differs from the factors made by other strains of R.I. viciae in that it carries an O-acetyl group on the C-6 of the reducing N-acetylglucosamine residue. This acetylation is NodX-dependent and the pentameric nodulation factor is acetylated on the reducing N-acetylglucosamine residue whereas the tetrameric nodulation factor is not. Although the nodL gene product is also an O-acetyl transferase (it O-acetylates the C-6 of the terminal non-reducing glucosamine), there is very little similarity between the amino acid sequences of these two acetyl transferases.