Biological nitrogen fixation associated with sugar cane
- Cite this article as:
- Boddey, R.M., Urquiaga, S., Reis, V. et al. Plant Soil (1991) 137: 111. doi:10.1007/BF02187441
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A recent15N dilution/N balance study confirmed that certain sugar cane varieties are capable of obtaining large contributions of nitrogen from plant-associated N2 fixation. It was estimated that up to 60 to 80% of plant N could be derived from this source, and under good conditions of water and mineral nutrient supply, it may be possible to dispense with N fertilization of these varieties altogether. The recently discovered bacterium,Acetobacter diazotrophicus, apparently responsible for this N2 fixation associated with the plants, has unique physiological properties for a diazotroph, such as tolerance to low pH, and high sugar and salt concentrations, lack of nitrate reductase, and nitrogenase activity which tolerates short-term exposure to ammonium. Furthermore, it also behaves as an endophyte, in that it is unable to infect sugar cane plants unless through damaged tissue or by means of VA mycorrhizae and is propagated via the planting material (stem pieces).