Nitrogen transfer from a legume tree to the associated grass estimated by the isotopic signature of tree root exudates: A comparison of the 15N leaf feeding and natural 15N abundance methods

Abstract : Nitrogen (N) transfer from legume trees to associated crops is a key factor for the N economy of low-input agroforestry systems. In this work, we presented a new approach to estimate N transfer based on the 15N content of root exudates and N released by root turnover of the donor plant (Gliricidia sepium) and the temporal change of the 15N content of the receiver plant (Dichanthium aristatum). The study was carried out in greenhouse using two isotopic methods: 15N leaf feeding (LF) and the natural 15N abundance (NA). Measurements of exudate 15N were made at several dates before and after tree pruning. A time-dependent box model was devised to quantify N transfer in time and to make comparisons between the isotopic methods. In NA, although tree roots and exudates presented a similar 15N signature before tree pruning, exudates were strongly depleted in 15N after pruning. In LF, exudates were always depleted in 15N in relation to tree roots. Hence, the current assumption used in N transfer studies concerning the equal 15N/14N distribution in tissues of the donor plant and in its excreted N was not confirmed in our study. Before pruning, N transfer functioned as a two-N-source system (soil N and exudates N) and both isotopic methods provided similar estimates: 11–12% for LF and 10–15% for NA. Calculations performed with the model indicated that N transfer occurred with small or nil fractionation of 15N in exudates. After pruning, there was a third N source associated with N released from tree root turnover. During this period, the isotopic signature of the receiver plant showed a transient state due to the progressive decrease of 15N content of that N source. The amount of N derived from the tree represented 65% of the total N content of the grass at the end of the experiments.
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European Journal of Agronomy, Elsevier, 2007, 27 (2-4), pp.178-186. 〈10.1016/j.eja.2007.03.003〉
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Soumis le : mercredi 12 novembre 2014 - 19:07:30
Dernière modification le : mercredi 18 juillet 2018 - 20:11:28

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J. Sierra, D. Daudin, A.-M. Domenach, P. Nygren, L. Desfontaines. Nitrogen transfer from a legume tree to the associated grass estimated by the isotopic signature of tree root exudates: A comparison of the 15N leaf feeding and natural 15N abundance methods. European Journal of Agronomy, Elsevier, 2007, 27 (2-4), pp.178-186. 〈10.1016/j.eja.2007.03.003〉. 〈hal-01082183〉

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