Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 107–112 | Cite as

Influence of phosphorus or phosphorus-potassium fertilization on biomass and dinitrogen fixation of the stem-nodulating green-manure legume Sesbania rostrata in different marginally productive wetland rice soils

  • K. A. Engels
  • M. Becker
  • J. C. G. Ottow
  • J. K. Ladha
Original Paper


The performance of Sesbania rostrata varies widely from site to site. This makes it difficult to predict the N yield and biomass of this plant in marginally productive soils, and to arouse the interest of farmers in green manure technology. Three consecutive pot experiments were conducted in a greenhouse at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to evaluate growth, nodulation, N2 fixation (C2H2 reduction assay and 15N dilution method), and N yield of 6-week-old S. rostrata on 13 physicochemically different wetland rice soils of the Philippines and on three artificial substrates. The performance of S. rostrata on the unfertilized controls was compared with two fertilizer treatments containing either P (100 mg P kg-1 dry soil) or P+K (100 mg P kg-1 and 200 mg K kg-1 dry soil). In the control soils and substrates, the N yield of S. rostrata varied between 20 and 470 mg N per pot, with the N rate from N2 fixation ranging between 0 and 95%. In three of the nutritionally poor soils even Mn toxicity symptoms apparently occurred with S. rostrata. P application alleviated these symptoms and increased the overall N yield considerably, mainly through increased biological N2 fixation. An additional increase in N yield was obtained by the PK treatment. Multiple regression analysis between soil characteristics and the N yield of S. rostrata showed that the original level of P (Olsen-extracted) and Mn in the soil accounted for 73% of the variance in biomass production by S. rostrata among the unfertilized soils and substrates.

Key words

Wetland rice soils Nitrogen fixation Sesbania rostrata PK fertilization Soil Mn Acetylene reduction assay ARA Green manure N dilution method 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. A. Engels
    • 1
  • M. Becker
    • 1
  • J. C. G. Ottow
    • 2
  • J. K. Ladha
    • 1
  1. 1.Soil Microbiology SectionThe International Rice Research InstituteManilaPhilippines
  2. 2.Institut für MikrobiologieJustus-Liebig UniversitätGiessenGermany

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