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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01041

High nitrogen availability limits photosynthesis and compromises carbohydrate allocation to storage in roots of Manihot esculenta Crantz

  • 1Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), Israel
  • 2Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

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.

Keywords: root-crops, Nitrogen, fertigation, Carbohydrates, physiological-indicators

Received: 16 Apr 2019; Accepted: 26 Jul 2019.

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.

* Correspondence:
Prof. Uri Yermiyahu, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), Rishon LeZion, Central District, Israel, uri4@volcani.agri.gov.il
Dr. Or Sperling, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), Rishon LeZion, Central District, Israel, orsperling@gmail.com