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Nitrification inhibition activity, a novel trait in root exudates of rice

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AoB Plants

Oxford University Press

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      Abstract

      Screening numerous genotypes for nitrification inhibition activity provides first evidence that root exudates of rice can slow the nitrification of ammonium to nitrate in soil. This offers promising possibilities for exploiting molecular and genetic tools to improve nitrogen use efficiency by inhibiting wasteful nitrification.

      Abstract

      Background and aimsNitrification is an important process in soil--plant systems for providing plant-available nitrate (NO3−). However, NO3− is less stable in soils compared with ammonium (NH4+) and is more easily lost through leaching, runoff or denitrification. This study tested whether biological nitrification inhibition (BNI) activity is present in the root exudates of rice (Oryza sativa) and also the extent of variation between different genotypes.MethodologyThe BNI activity of root exudates was estimated by a bioluminescence assay using a recombinant Nitrosomonas europaea strain. Afterwards, the effect of a single application of concentrated root exudates and that of exudates deposited in the rhizosphere soil was tested on BNI using soil incubation. Soil was added with (NH4)2SO4 and water to reach 60 % of the water-holding capacity and incubated at 30 °C for different periods. Amounts of NH4+ and NO3− were determined using a continuous-flow auto-analyser.Principal resultsIn an initial screening experiment, BNI activity in the exudates of 36 different rice genotypes was evaluated using a bioassay based on a recombinant Nitrosomonas strain. Significant genotypic variation was detected with the upland cultivar IAC25 demonstrating consistently high BNI activity, while modern lowland varieties like Nipponbare or IR64 exhibited lower activity. Subsequent experiments ruled out the possibility that BNI activity is simply due to non-specific (solute) leakage from roots. Soil incubation studies with concentrated root exudates of IAC25 showed significant reductions in NO3− formation. This effect was confirmed by detecting lower NO3− levels in incubation experiments using rhizosphere soil obtained from IAC25.ConclusionsOur results provide first evidence that root exudates of rice can reduce nitrification rates in soil. Having shown this for a model crop, rice, offers possibilities for further exploitation of this phenomenon through molecular and genetic tools.

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      Reducing environmental risk by improving N management in intensive Chinese agricultural systems.

      Excessive N fertilization in intensive agricultural areas of China has resulted in serious environmental problems because of atmospheric, soil, and water enrichment with reactive N of agricultural origin. This study examines grain yields and N loss pathways using a synthetic approach in 2 of the most intensive double-cropping systems in China: waterlogged rice/upland wheat in the Taihu region of east China versus irrigated wheat/rainfed maize on the North China Plain. When compared with knowledge-based optimum N fertilization with 30-60% N savings, we found that current agricultural N practices with 550-600 kg of N per hectare fertilizer annually do not significantly increase crop yields but do lead to about 2 times larger N losses to the environment. The higher N loss rates and lower N retention rates indicate little utilization of residual N by the succeeding crop in rice/wheat systems in comparison with wheat/maize systems. Periodic waterlogging of upland systems caused large N losses by denitrification in the Taihu region. Calcareous soils and concentrated summer rainfall resulted in ammonia volatilization (19% for wheat and 24% for maize) and nitrate leaching being the main N loss pathways in wheat/maize systems. More than 2-fold increases in atmospheric deposition and irrigation water N reflect heavy air and water pollution and these have become important N sources to agricultural ecosystems. A better N balance can be achieved without sacrificing crop yields but significantly reducing environmental risk by adopting optimum N fertilization techniques, controlling the primary N loss pathways, and improving the performance of the agricultural Extension Service.
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        Evidence for biological nitrification inhibition in Brachiaria pastures.

        Nitrification, a key process in the global nitrogen cycle that generates nitrate through microbial activity, may enhance losses of fertilizer nitrogen by leaching and denitrification. Certain plants can suppress soil-nitrification by releasing inhibitors from roots, a phenomenon termed biological nitrification inhibition (BNI). Here, we report the discovery of an effective nitrification inhibitor in the root-exudates of the tropical forage grass Brachiaria humidicola (Rendle) Schweick. Named "brachialactone," this inhibitor is a recently discovered cyclic diterpene with a unique 5-8-5-membered ring system and a gamma-lactone ring. It contributed 60-90% of the inhibitory activity released from the roots of this tropical grass. Unlike nitrapyrin (a synthetic nitrification inhibitor), which affects only the ammonia monooxygenase (AMO) pathway, brachialactone appears to block both AMO and hydroxylamine oxidoreductase enzymatic pathways in Nitrosomonas. Release of this inhibitor is a regulated plant function, triggered and sustained by the availability of ammonium (NH(4)(+)) in the root environment. Brachialactone release is restricted to those roots that are directly exposed to NH(4)(+). Within 3 years of establishment, Brachiaria pastures have suppressed soil nitrifier populations (determined as amoA genes; ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and ammonia-oxidizing archaea), along with nitrification and nitrous oxide emissions. These findings provide direct evidence for the existence and active regulation of a nitrification inhibitor (or inhibitors) release from tropical pasture root systems. Exploiting the BNI function could become a powerful strategy toward the development of low-nitrifying agronomic systems, benefiting both agriculture and the environment.
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          Direct N2O emissions from rice paddy fields: Summary of available data

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            simpleJapan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS simple) Crop Production and Environment Division, 1-1 Ohwashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8686, Japan
            Author notes
            [* ]Corresponding author's e-mail address: wissuwa@ 123456affrc.go.jp
            Journal
            AoB Plants
            aobpla
            aobpla
            AoB Plants
            Oxford University Press
            2041-2851
            2010
            17 September 2010
            2010
            : 2010
            2992353
            22476072
            10.1093/aobpla/plq014
            plq014
            © The Authors 2010. Published by Oxford University Press.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/uk/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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