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Response of Leucaena/Rhizobium symbiosis to mineral nutrients in Southwestern Nigeria

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Pot and field experiments carried out at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and at Fashola, Southwestern Nigeria, examined the effect of inoculation and N, P and micronutrients on nodulation and growth ofLeucaena leucocephala (Lam.) de Wit. In pot studies all parameters measured, except the percentage of nitrogen in shoots, were improved by inoculation, nitrogen and phosphorus. Micronutrients increased only nitrogen and allantoin contents. Interactions between inoculation and P, N and micronutrients on nodulation and growth of leucaena were observed. The effect of inoculation and fertilization with phosphorus or micronutrients was further investigated in field experiments. Establishment of uninoculated and unfertilized leucaena was poor at both locations due to low soil fertility and the presence of only a few native leucaena rhizobia. At one site, only inoculated plants were nodulated, while at the other, all plants produced nodules. Shoot dry weight, total nitrogen and phosphorus of inoculated plants were statistically equal to nitrogen-fertilized plants. Uninoculated plants were stunted. Generally, micronutrients did not influence nodulation, total nitrogen or growth of leucaena. They had only a positive effect on nitrogenase activity. Phosphorus increased total nitrogen and phosphorus uptake and plant growth. A 75% increase in shoot dry weight was obtained when 80 kg P ha−1 was applied to inoculated leucaena with Rhizobium strain IRc 1045. Inoculated plants contained more allantoins than uninoculated ones but no significant correlation was found between these compounds and other parameters of N fixation.

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Sanginga, N., Mulongoy, K. & Ayanaba, A. Response of Leucaena/Rhizobium symbiosis to mineral nutrients in Southwestern Nigeria. Plant Soil 112, 121–127 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02181761

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Key words

  • alfisol
  • allantoin
  • inoculation
  • Leucaena leucocephala
  • mineral nutrition
  • nodulation
  • nitrogenase activity
  • shoot growth
  • total nitrogen