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Screening techniques and improved biological nitrogen fixation in cool season food legumes

Abstract

Dinitrogen fixation and legume productivity are greatly influenced through the interactions of legume host, Rhizobium, and the above- and below-ground environment. The benefits of improving legume N2 fixation include reduced reliance on soil N, leading to more sustainable agricultural systems and reduced requirements for fertilizer N, enhanced residual benefits to subsequent crops, and increased legume crop yields. Most of the gains in N2 fixation to date have been derived from management of legume cropping systems and through inoculation of legume seed with competitive and symbiotically effective rhizobia. Further gains are possible by developing plant cultivars with tolerance to soil abiotic factors, increased plant yield, and a broader and more effective matching of plant host and rhizobia. Techniques for screening material for superior N2 fixation and examples of programs to increase fixed N, with attention to the major abiotic stresses, are discussed.

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Herridge, D.F., Rupela, O.P., Serraj, R. et al. Screening techniques and improved biological nitrogen fixation in cool season food legumes. Euphytica 73, 95–108 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00027186

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Key words

  • N2 fixation
  • breeding
  • food legumes
  • measurement techniques
  • nodulation
  • nitrate tolerance
  • yield