Dinitrogen fixation in Illinois bundleflower

Byun, J.; Sheaffer, C.C.; Russelle, M.P.; Ehlke, N.J.; Wyse, D.L.; Graham, P.H.

Crop Science 44(2): 493-500


ISSN/ISBN: 0011-183X
DOI: 10.2135/cropsci2004.4930
Accession: 066172823

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Symbiotic N-2 fixation capacity may affect productivity of the perennial legume Illinois bundleflower [Desmanthus illinoensis (Michx.) MacMill. ex B.L. Rob. & Fernald]. Our objective was to estimate N2 fixation of three Illinois bundleflower accessions managed for forage. Herbage yield ranged from 1.02 Mg ha(-1) to 3.69 Mg ha(-1) in Year 1, and 2.99 Mg ha(-1) to 8.27 Mg ha(-1) in Year 2. Accessions differed in herbage yield, aboveground N yield, and N-2 fixed at certain locations in Year 1, but not in Year 2. Percentage of N derived from the atmosphere (%Ndfa) varied with location but not with accession in either year. The IN natural abundance method gave lower estimates of %Ndfa than the N-15 enrichment method. In yr 1, N-2 fixation ranged from 0 to 30 kg ha-(1) N (N-15 natural abundance method), 11 to 43 kg ha(-1)(N-15 enrichment method), and 0 to 50 kg ha(-1) N (total N difference method), and in Year 2 these estimates at two locations were 60 to 67 kg ha(-1) N, 79 to 127 kg ha(-1) N,and 67 to 142 kg ha(-1) N, respectively. Differences in N-2 fixation among locations could have been due to rhizobial strains. At the high-yielding location with the greatest N-2 fixation, over one-half of the nodules were occupied by indigenous rhizobial strains, whereas at other locations, strains from commercial inoculant accounted for most nodules. Symbiotic N-2 fixation by Illinois bundleflower could be enhanced by new rhizobial inoculums.