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Plant and Soil

, Volume 299, Issue 1–2, pp 55–64 | Cite as

Can biological nitrification inhibition (BNI) genes from perennial Leymus racemosus (Triticeae) combat nitrification in wheat farming?

  • G. V. Subbarao
  • Ban Tomohiro
  • Kishii Masahiro
  • Ito Osamu
  • H. Samejima
  • H. Y. Wang
  • S. J. Pearse
  • S. Gopalakrishnan
  • K. Nakahara
  • A. K. M. Zakir Hossain
  • H. Tsujimoto
  • W. L. Berry
Regular Article

Abstract

Using a recombinant luminescent Nitrosomonas europaea assay to quantify biological nitrification inhibition (BNI), we found that a wild relative of wheat (Leymus racemosus (Lam.) Tzvelev) had a high BNI capacity and releases about 20 times more BNI compounds (about 30 ATU g−1 root dry weight 24 h−1) than Triticum aestivum L. (cultivated wheat). The root exudate from cultivated wheat has no inhibitory effect on nitrification when applied to soil; however, the root exudate from L. racemous suppressed \( {\text{NO}}^{ - }_{3} \) formation and kept more than 90% of the soil’s inorganic-N in the \( {\text{NH}}^{ + }_{4} \)-form for 60 days. The high-BNI capacity of L. racemosus is mostly associated with chromosome Lr#n. Two other chromosomes Lr#J, and Lr#I also have an influence on BNI production. Tolerance of L. racemosus to \( {\text{NH}}^{ + }_{4} \) is controlled by chromosome 7Lr#1-1. Sustained release of BNI compounds occurred only in the presence of \( {\text{NH}}^{ + }_{4} \) in the root environment. Given the level of BNI production expressed in DALr#n and assuming normal plant growth, we estimated that nearly 87,500,000 ATU of BNI activity ha−1 day−1 could be released in a field of vigorously growing wheat; this amounts to the equivalent of the inhibitory effect from the application of 52.5 g of the synthetic nitrification inhibitor nitrapyrin (one AT unit of BNI activity is equivalent to 0.6 μg of nitrapyrin). At this rate of BNI production it would take only 19 days for a BNI-enabled wheat crop to produce the inhibitory power of a standard commercial application of nitrapyrin, 1 kg ha−1. The synthetic nitrification inhibitor, dicyandiamide, blocked specifically the AMO (ammonia monooxygenase) pathway, while the BNI from L. racemosus blocked the HAO (hydroxylamine oxidoreductase) pathway in Nitrosomonas. Here we report the first finding of high production of BNI in a wild relative of any cereal and its successful introduction and expression in cultivated wheat. These results demonstrate the potential for empowering the new generation of wheat cultivars with high-BNI capacity to control nitrification in wheat-production systems.

Keywords

Biological nitrification inhibition (BNI) Leymus racemosus Nitrification Nitrogen use efficiency Nitrosomonas europaea Root exudate Triticum aestivum 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We wish to acknowledge the support from the Government of Japan through the Japan-CIMMYT FHB collaborative research project. We are particularly grateful to Dr. Masa Iwanaga, the director general of CIMMYT for providing guidance, inspiration and encouragement during the drafting of this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. V. Subbarao
    • 1
  • Ban Tomohiro
    • 2
  • Kishii Masahiro
    • 3
  • Ito Osamu
    • 1
  • H. Samejima
    • 1
  • H. Y. Wang
    • 4
  • S. J. Pearse
    • 1
    • 5
  • S. Gopalakrishnan
    • 1
  • K. Nakahara
    • 6
  • A. K. M. Zakir Hossain
    • 1
  • H. Tsujimoto
    • 7
  • W. L. Berry
    • 8
  1. 1.Crop Production and Environment DivisionJapan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS)IbarakiJapan
  2. 2.Biological Resources DivisionJapan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS)IbarakiJapan
  3. 3.CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center) ApdoMexico, D.F.Mexico
  4. 4.The State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable AgricultureNanjingChina
  5. 5.School of Plant BiologyThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  6. 6.Food Science and Technology DivisionJapan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS)IbarakiJapan
  7. 7.Laboratory of Plant Genetics and Breeding Science, Faculty of AgricultureTottori UniversityTottoriJapan
  8. 8.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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