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      High Nitrogen Availability Limits Photosynthesis and Compromises Carbohydrate Allocation to Storage in Roots of Manihot esculenta Crantz

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          Cassava ( M. esculenta Crantz), feeding countless people and attracting markets worldwide, is a model for traditional crops that need physiology-based fertigation (fertilization through irrigation) standards in intensive cultivation. Hence, we studied the effects of 10 to 200 mg L -1 nitrogen (N) fertigation on growth and yields of cassava and targeted alterations in their photosynthetic, transpiration, and carbohydrate management. We found that increasing irrigation N from 10 to 70 mg L -1 increased cassava’s photosynthesis and transpiration but supported only the canopy’s growth. At 100 mg N L -1 cassava reached a threshold of sugar in leaves (∼47 mg g -1), began to accumulate starch and supported higher yields. Yet, at 200 mg N L -1, the canopy became too demanding and plants had to restrain transpiration, reduce photosynthesis, decrease carbohydrates, and finally lower yields. We concluded that the phases of cassava response to nitrogen are: 1) growth that does not support yields at low N, 2) productive N application, and 3) excessive use of N. Yet traditional leaf mineral analyses fail to exhibit these responses, and therefore we propose a simple and inexpensive carbohydrate measurement to guide a precise use of N.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Leaf Nitrogen, Photosynthesis, and Crop Radiation Use Efficiency: A Review

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            Leaf nitrogen, photosynthesis, conductance and transpiration: scaling from leaves to canopies

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              50 year trends in nitrogen use efficiency of world cropping systems: the relationship between yield and nitrogen input to cropland


                Author and article information

                Front Plant Sci
                Front Plant Sci
                Front. Plant Sci.
                Frontiers in Plant Science
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                11 September 2019
                : 10
                1French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev , Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel
                2Gilat Research Center, Agricultural Research Organization , Gilat, Israel
                Author notes

                Edited by: Victoria Fernandez, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain

                Reviewed by: Roslyn Gleadow, Monash University, Australia; Hongzhang Kang, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

                *Correspondence: Uri Yermiyahu, uri4@ ; Or Sperlingr, orsp@

                This article was submitted to Plant Nutrition, a section of the journal Frontiers in Plant Science

                Copyright © 2019 Omondi, Lazarovitch, Rachmilevitch, Yermiyahu and Sperling

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 43, Pages: 9, Words: 4691
                Plant Science
                Original Research

                Plant science & Botany

                carbohydrates, physiological indicators, fertigation, root-crops, nitrogen


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