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Iron nutrition of peanut enhanced by mixed cropping with maize: Possible role of root morphology and rhizosphere microflora



Iron nutrition of peanut enhanced by mixed cropping with maize: Possible role of root morphology and rhizosphere microflora



Journal of Plant Nutrition 26(10-11): 2093-2110, October-November



Field observations have indicated that Fe deficiency chlorosis symptoms in peanut are more severe and widespread in monoculture than intercropped with maize in calcareous soils of northern China. Here we report a pot experiment that investigated the mechanisms underlying the marked improvement in Fe nutrition of peanut grown in mixture with maize. Iron deficiency chlorosis occurred in the young leaves of peanut in monoculture and was particularly obvious at the flowering stage, while the young leaves of peanut grown in mixture with maize remained green throughout the experiment. The chlorophyll and HCl-extractable Fe concentrations in young leaves of peanut grown in mixture were much higher than those in monoculture, indicating that maize may have markedly improved the peanut Fe nutrition. Growth in mixture was associated with greatly altered root morphology and microbial populations in the rhizosphere of peanut. Visual observation of peanut roots in monoculture showed that they were larger in diameter and shorter than those in mixture. Moreover, peanut roots in mixture with maize produced more lateral roots and had increased root length compared with plants in monoculture. Peanut grown together with maize showed obvious rhizodermal transfer cells in the subapical root zone, but cells with cell wall ingrowths were poorly developed in peanut in mono-culture. Mixed culture resulted in a significantly decreased abundance of bacteria in the rhizosphere of peanut compared with monoculture, and electron microscope observations indicated that this was associated with a thicker mucigel layer on the root surface of peanut in mixture with maize. Several root morphological and rhizosphere microbial factors may thus have contributed to the improvement in Fe nutrition of peanut in mixed culture.

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Accession: 010885267

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DOI: 10.1081/PLN-120024267



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