Growth and nitrogen fixation of legumes at increased salinity under field conditions: implications for the use of green manures in saline environments

B. Bruning, R.S.P van Logtestijn, R.A. Broekman, A.C. de Vos, A. Parra González, J. Rozema

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The use of legumes as green manure can potentially increase crop productivity in saline environments and thus contribute to the sustainability of agricultural systems. Here, we present results from a field experiment conducted in the Netherlands that addressed the efficiency of nitrogen (N) fixation by a legume at varying salinities. We grew Melilotus officinalis in an agricultural field using drip irrigation with water salinity varying in electrical conductivity between 1.7 and 20 dS m-1. In the experiment, nearly 100 % of total plant N in M. officinalis was derived from symbiotic fixation at all but the highest salinity level (20 dS m-1). Our results indicated that this species derived substantial amounts of N via symbiotic fixation, the N becoming available in the soil (and thus available to crops) when cultivated legumes senesce and decompose. Based on the growth performance of M. officinalis and its ability to fix N at moderate soil salinity in our field experiments, we identified this species as a promising source for green manure in saline agriculture in temperate regions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberplv010
Number of pages8
JournalAOB Plants
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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