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Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 219–227 | Cite as

Prospects and potentials for systems of biological nitrogen fixation in sustainable rice production

  • A. T. M. A. Choudhury
  • I. R. Kennedy
Review Article

Abstract

The N requirement of rice crops is well known. To overcome acute N deficiency in rice soils, this element is usually supplied to the rice crop as the commercially available fertilizer urea. But unfortunately a substantial amount of the urea-N is lost through different mechanisms causing environmental pollution problems. Utilization of biological N fixation (BNF) technology can decrease the use of urea-N, reducing the environmental problems to a considerable extent. Different BNF systems have different potentials to provide a N supplement, and it is necessary to design appropriate strategies in order to use BNF systems for efficient N supply to a rice crop. Research has been conducted around the world to evaluate the potential of different BNF systems to supply N to rice crops. This paper reviews salient findings of these works to assess all the current information available. This review indicates that the aquatic biota Cyanobacteria and Azolla can supplement the N requirements of plants, replacing 30–50% of the required urea-N. BNF by some diazotrophic bacteria like Azotobacter, Clostridium, Azospirillum, Herbaspirillum and Burkholderia can substitute for urea-N, while Rhizobium can promote the growth physiology or improve the root morphology of the rice plant. Green manure crops can also fix substantial amounts of atmospheric N. Among the green manure crops, Sesbania rostrata has the highest atmospheric N2-fixing potential, and it has the potential to completely substitute for urea-N in rice cultivation.

Keywords

Biological nitrogen fixation Sustainable rice production 

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© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SUNFix Centre for Nitrogen Fixation, Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural ResourcesThe University of SydneyAustralia

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