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Agronomy Journal Abstract - LEGUMES

Nitrogen Fixation of Sulla under Mediterranean Conditions


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 101 No. 6, p. 1470-1478
    Received: Apr 16, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): l.sulas@cspm.ss.cnr.it
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  1. Leonardo Sulas *a,
  2. Giovanna Seddaiub,
  3. Rosella Muresua and
  4. Pier Paolo Roggerob
  1. a Istituto per il Sistema Produzione Animale in Ambiente Mediterraneo, CNR, Traversa La Crucca 3, località Baldinca 07040 Li Punti-Sassari, Italy
    b Dipartimento di Scienze Agronomiche e Genetica Vegetale Agraria, Univ. degli Studi di Sassari, via E. De Nicola, 07100 Sassari, Italy


Sulla coronaria (L.) B.H. Choi & H. Ohashi (=Hedysarum coronarium L.) is a Mediterranean forage legume grown extensively in rainfed Italian environments. Here we report the field quantification of its seasonal and annual N fixation, using the 15N isotopic dilution (ID) method, the influence of various nonfixing reference species on these estimates, and the allocation of fixed N between the aerial and the belowground biomass. Parallel experiments were conducted over two biennial crop cycles at two Italian locations (Sassari and Ancona), characterized by sandy-loam to heavy clay-loam calcareous soils. The proportion of nitrogen derived from the atmosphere (%Ndfa) present in the aerial biomass reached 78.2% at Sassari and 82.7% at Ancona, with no significant effect of the identity of the nonfixing reference species. At Sassari, the amount of fixed N present in the aerial dry matter (DM) of sulla was 187 kg ha−1 in the first crop cycle, and 265 kg ha−1 in the second, while the equivalent N yields at Ancona were 350 and 170 kg ha−1 The relationship between the quantity of fixed N in the aerial biomass and the aerial DM yield of sulla was significant and not site-specific, realizing an equivalence of about 1.8 kg ha−1 of fixed N per 100 kg ha−1 of aerial DM. The relative contribution of the root biomass to the amount of fixed N was on average 4%. The N balance of sulla at the end of the second crop cycle was negative, but the N sparing effect compared with the nonfixing species ranged from 65 to 175 kg ha−1

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Copyright © 2009. American Society of AgronomyCopyright © 2009 by the American Society of Agronomy