, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 318-320

Genetic variability in dinitrogen fixation between cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp] cultivars determined using the nitrogen-15 isotope dilution technique

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 N fixed in 16 cultivars of cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp] inoculated with effective Bradyrhizobium strains collected from the West African MIRCEN culture collection was measured by 15N isotope dilution technique. In all plant parts, significant differences in the percentage of N derived from the atmosphere (%Ndfa) and the amount of Ndfa occurred between the cultivars. Ndoute variety exhibited the highest %Ndfa (74.33% in shoots; 60.90% in roots) and accumulated more fixed N (960 mg N plant–1 and 38 mg N plant–1 in shoots and roots, respectively). Therefore this cultivar should be selected as the highest N-fixing cowpea cultivar. It also should be used in a breeding programme to contribute to the development of cultivars that could stimulate an intensive use of cowpea in many different cropping systems in Africa with a view to maintaining soil fertility.