Yield and nitrogen fixation potential from white lupine grown in rainfed Mediterranean environments
ABSTRACT There is renewed interest in white lupine (Lupinus albus L.), which is appreciated for its high protein content, full range of essential amino acids and as N source to rainfed cropping systems. Unfortunately, information on its N2 fixation ability is limited. This study aimed to&58; (i) quantify the N2 fixation ability of white lupine crop at the plot field scale in three different environments of Sardinia (Italy) under Mediterranean climate&59; (ii) determine the allocation of the plant-fixed N into different organs&59; and (iii) establish the relationship between fixed N and DM within plant organs. In a 2-year experiment, N2 fixation was estimated using the 15N isotopic dilution method. The productive performances and ability of white lupine to fix N2 widely differed in the three environments&59; peak values exceeded 300 kg ha−1 of fixed N. There were significant differences in the quantity of fixed N found in each plant organ at physiological maturity with 5, 20, 19 and 57 % of fixed N partitioned to roots, shoots, pod valves and grain, respectively. After grain harvesting, the net N balance ranged from negative values to 160 kg N ha−1. The relationship between fixed N and DM yield indicated 60, 34, 8 and 6 kg of fixed N per t of grain, pod valves, shoots and root, respectively, showing that fixed N preferentially accumulated in seeds at physiological maturity. Due to its high potential for N2 fixation and N benefit, white lupine represents a valuable crop option under rainfed Mediterranean conditions.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2016