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Accumulation of biologically fixed nitrogen by legumes cultivated as cover crops in Switzerland

Accumulation of biologically fixed nitrogen by legumes cultivated as cover crops in Switzerland

Büchi, Lucie ORCID: 0000-0002-1935-6176, Gebhard, Claude-Alain, Liebisch, Frank, Sinaj, Sokrat, Ramseier, Hans and Charles, Raphaël (2015) Accumulation of biologically fixed nitrogen by legumes cultivated as cover crops in Switzerland. Plant and Soil, 393 (1-2). pp. 163-175. ISSN 0032-079X (Print), 1573-5036 (Online) (doi:10.1007/s11104-015-2476-7)

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Abstract

Aims Biological nitrogen fixation by legumes is expected to play a greater role in future cropping systems. Our study evaluated 19 legume species grown as cover crops in Swiss agroecosystems. Methods Two field experiments were set up to monitor the biomass production and nitrogen content of 19 legumes and two non-legumes. The proportion of nitrogen derived from atmospheric N2 (%Ndfa) was assessed using the 15N natural abundance method. In parallel, a pot experiment was set up to determine the species-specific B values necessary to apply this method. Results Some species produced an important amount of biomass in 3 months, up to 6.86 t/ha for Vicia faba. Five species, Lathyrus sativus, Pisum sativum, Vicia sativa, Vicia villosa, and V. faba, acquired more than 100 kg/ha of N through biological fixation. Important amounts of nitrogen were also derived from the soil. %Ndfa values showed high variability between and within species, ranging from 0 % to almost 100 %. Conclusions Some legumes showed high N accumulation even in a short growing period, and could play an important role in fixing renewable nitrogen in crop rotation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 15N natural abundance method; B value; Legumes; Nitrogen accumulation; Symbiotic N2 fixation
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Ecosystem Services Research Group
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 15:10
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/19195

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