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Influence of Rhizobia inoculation on biomass gain and tissue nitrogen content of Leucaena leucocephala seedlings under drought

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Pereyra,  Gabriela
IMPRS International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;
Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Hartmann,  Henrik
Tree Mortality Mechanisms, Dr. H. Hartmann, Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Ziegler,  Waldemar
Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Trumbore,  Susan E.
Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Pereyra, G., Hartmann, H., Michalzik, B., Ziegler, W., & Trumbore, S. E. (2015). Influence of Rhizobia inoculation on biomass gain and tissue nitrogen content of Leucaena leucocephala seedlings under drought. Forests, 6, 3686-3703. doi:10.3390/f6103686.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-9F87-E
Abstract
Anticipated increases in the frequency of heat waves and drought spells may have negative effects on the ability of leguminous trees to fix nitrogen (N). In seedlings of Leucaena leucocephala inoculated with Mesorhizobium loti or Rhizobium tropici, we investigated how the developmental stage and a short drought influenced overall biomass and the accumulation of carbon and N in plant tissues. In early developmental stages, the number of nodules and nodule biomass were correlated with total plant biomass and δ15N, and nodules and roots contributed 33%–35% of the seedling total N. Seedlings associated with R. tropici fixed more N and exhibited higher overall biomass compared with M. loti seedlings. Four and a half months after inoculation (140 days after inoculation, DAI), a short (15-day) drought inhibited seedling growth and caused a decline in total plant N, with the smallest decline in R. tropici seedlings. After 15 days of drought, i.e., 155 DAI, the nodules had accumulated proline, but the total amino acid concentration did not change. Our results indicate that N-fixation is independent of seedlings growth. In addition, R. tropici is a better choice than M. loti as a symbiont for Leucaena seedlings for forest restoration and agroforestry applications under increasingly drier conditions.