Quantitative assessment of symbiotic nitrogen fixation in diverse mutant lines of field bean (Vicia faba minor)
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Homozygous mutant lines of field bean selected for (a) improved yielding potential and (b) altered plant architecture and/or physiological response were tested for symbiotic nitrogen fixing ability under field conditions in comparison with their parent cultivar.15N-tracer techniques were applied to determine %N derived from atmosphere. Data were collected on assimilate and nitrogen accumulation and distribution among various plant parts during two stages of reproductive growth.
Symbiotic nitrogen fixation was closely correlated with total plant top biomass and nitrogen yield. A similar close association was found between crop yield and nitrogen harvest index. Both harvest indices tended to be negatively correlated with stage of maturity and with the amount of N derived from air per unit of area. The generally high %N derived from symbiotic N2 fixation and its comparatively small variability implies that this parameter may be difficult to improve inVicia faba under field conditions.
It is concluded, that the main genetic potential for improving the amount of biological nitrogen fixation in this crop depends upon factors that promote high photosynthetic productivity and efficient N-use under appropriate agronomic conditions and with effective rhizobial associations. The establishment of rational ideotypes with a possitive impact on yield appears to be of practical significance for increasing the amount of symbiotically fixed nitrogen.
Key wordsCarbon partitioning Field bean Mutant lines Nitrogen partitioning 15N-tracer techniques Symbiotic nitrogen fixation Vicia faba minor
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