Plant and Soil

, Volume 82, Issue 2, pp 205–214 | Cite as

The effect of soil nitrate on the growth, nodulation and nitrogen fixation of chickpeas (Cicer arietinum)

  • Robin S. Jessop
  • Sandra J. Hetherington
  • Errol H. Hoult


A controlled environment experiment was used to examine the growth and nodulation response of chickpea to a range of soil nitrate (NO 3 ) levels (0, 0.75, 1.5, 3.0, 6.0 mM). Dry matter production, nodule mass and number, dinitrogen (N2) fixation via the acetylene (C2H2) reduction method, total nitrogen content and NO 3 concentration were measured at 56 and 90 days from inoculated and uninoculated plants. It was found that chickpeas were less sensitive to the inhibitory effects of NO 3 than soybeans. High NO 3 appeared to inhibit the production of nodules early in growth, however, by the second harvest nodulation was stimulated by high NO 3 levels. Increasing NO 3 levels gave positive responses in tops and roots dry weight production but, proportionally, these effects were greatest with uninoculated plants. 3 and 6 mM NO 3 gave similar root and tops dry weight in inoculated plants after 90 days. Nodule dry weight production per pot was maximised at 3.0 mM NO 3 at both plant harvests. Whilst NO 3 at 6 mM still gave a strong stimulation of acetylene reduction compared to 0 and 0.75 mM NO 3 , there appeared to be a trend suggesting an inhibitory effect of 6 mM NO 3 on C2H2 reduction compared to 1.5 and 3.0 mM NO 3 .

Key words

Acetylene reduction Cicer arietinum Chickpea N fixation Nodulation Root growth Shoot growth Soil nitrate 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin S. Jessop
    • 1
  • Sandra J. Hetherington
    • 1
  • Errol H. Hoult
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agronomy and Soil ScienceUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

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