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Optimizing nitrogen application rate and plant density for improving cotton yield and nitrogen use efficiency in the North China Plain

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      Abstract

      Plant population density (PPD) and nitrogen (N) application rate (NAR) are two controllable factors in cotton production. We conducted field experiments to investigate the effects of PPD, NAR and their interaction (PPD × NAR) on yield, N uptake and N use efficiency (NUE) of cotton using a split-plot design in the North China Plain during 2013 and 2014. The main plots were PPDs (plants m−2) of 3.00 (low), 5.25 (medium) and 7.50 (high) and the subplots were NARs of 0 (N-free), 112.5 (low), 225.0 (moderate) and 337.5 (high). During both 2013 and 2014, biological yield and N uptake of cotton increased significantly, but harvesting index decreased significantly with NAR and PPD increasing. With NAR increasing, internal nitrogen use efficiency(NUE) decreased significantly under three PPDs and agronomical NUE, physiologilal NUE, nitrogen recovery efficiency(NRE) and partial factor productivity from applied nitrogen (PFPN) also decreased significantly under high PPD between two years. Lint yield increment varied during different PPDs and years, but NAR enhancement showed less function under higher PPD than lower PPD in general. Taken together, moderate NAR under medium PPD combined higher lint yield with higher agronomic NUE, physiological NUE, and NRE, while low NAR with high PPD would achieve a comparable yield with superior NRE and PFPN and high NAR under high PPD and medium PPD produced higher biological yield but lower harvest index, lint yield and NUE compared to moderate NAR with medium PPD. Our overall results indicated that, in this region, increasing PPD and decreasing NAR properly would enhance both lint yield and NUE of cotton.

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      Plant nitrogen assimilation and use efficiency.

      Crop productivity relies heavily on nitrogen (N) fertilization. Production and application of N fertilizers consume huge amounts of energy, and excess is detrimental to the environment; therefore, increasing plant N use efficiency (NUE) is essential for the development of sustainable agriculture. Plant NUE is inherently complex, as each step-including N uptake, translocation, assimilation, and remobilization-is governed by multiple interacting genetic and environmental factors. The limiting factors in plant metabolism for maximizing NUE are different at high and low N supplies, indicating great potential for improving the NUE of current cultivars, which were bred in well-fertilized soil. Decreasing environmental losses and increasing the productivity of crop-acquired N requires the coordination of carbohydrate and N metabolism to give high yields. Increasing both the grain and N harvest index to drive N acquisition and utilization are important approaches for breeding future high-NUE cultivars.
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        Internal nutrient efficiencies of irrigated lowland rice in tropical and subtropical Asia

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          Spatial distribution of light interception by different plant population densities and its relationship with yield

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Institute of Cotton Research of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, State Key Laboratory of Cotton Biology, Anyang, Henan, China
            University of Delhi, INDIA
            Author notes

            Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

            Contributors
            ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2922-3278, Role: Conceptualization, Role: Data curation, Role: Software, Role: Writing – original draft, Role: Writing – review & editing
            Role: Conceptualization, Role: Project administration
            Role: Data curation, Role: Investigation
            Role: Data curation, Role: Investigation
            Role: Data curation, Role: Investigation
            Role: Data curation, Role: Investigation
            Role: Data curation, Role: Investigation
            Role: Data curation, Role: Investigation
            Role: Data curation, Role: Investigation
            Role: Funding acquisition, Role: Project administration, Role: Software
            Role: Data curation, Role: Investigation, Role: Methodology
            Role: Conceptualization, Role: Supervision
            Role: Editor
            Journal
            PLoS One
            PLoS ONE
            plos
            plosone
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
            1932-6203
            5 October 2017
            2017
            : 12
            : 10
            28981538
            5628833
            10.1371/journal.pone.0185550
            PONE-D-17-07325
            (Editor)
            © 2017 Li et al

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            Counts
            Figures: 2, Tables: 4, Pages: 15
            Product
            Funding
            Funded by: the earmarked fund of the China Agricultural Research System
            Award ID: CARS-18-17
            Award Recipient :
            Funded by: the National Natural Science Foundation of China
            Award ID: 31371561
            Award Recipient :
            Funded by: the Professional (Agricultural) Researching Project for Public Interests, China
            Award ID: 201503121
            Award Recipient :
            Funded by: the Professional (Agricultural) Researching Project for Public Interests
            Award ID: 201203096
            Award Recipient :
            This work was supported by the earmarked fund of the China Agricultural Research System of China (CARS-18-17), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31371561) and the Professional (Agricultural) Researching Project for Public Interests, China (201503121, 201203096). The funders Yabing Li and Guoping Wang took part in study design, data collection and analysis and preparation of the manuscript.
            Categories
            Research Article
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Organisms
            Eukaryota
            Plants
            Flowering Plants
            Cotton
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Agriculture
            Agronomy
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Organisms
            Eukaryota
            Plants
            Flowering Plants
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Plant Science
            Plant Anatomy
            Leaves
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Agriculture
            Agrochemicals
            Fertilizers
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Agriculture
            Agronomy
            Horticulture
            Planting
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Ecology
            Ecological Metrics
            Photosynthetic Efficiency
            Ecology and Environmental Sciences
            Ecology
            Ecological Metrics
            Photosynthetic Efficiency
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Biochemistry
            Plant Biochemistry
            Photosynthesis
            Photosynthetic Efficiency
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Plant Science
            Plant Biochemistry
            Photosynthesis
            Photosynthetic Efficiency
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Plant Science
            Plant Anatomy
            Seeds
            Custom metadata
            All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

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