Table_7_Effects of Nitrogen Application on Nitrogen Fixation in Common Bean Production.xlsx
The nitrogen fixing ability of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in association with rhizobia is often characterized as poor compared to other legumes, and nitrogen fertilizers are commonly used in bean production to achieve high yields, which in general inhibits nitrogen fixation. In addition, plants cannot take up all the nitrogen applied to the soil as a fertilizer leading to runoff and groundwater contamination. The overall objective of this work is to reduce use of nitrogen fertilizer in common bean production. This would be a major advance in profitability for the common bean industry in Canada and would significantly improve the ecological footprint of the crop. In the current work, 22 bean genotypes [including recombinant inbred lines (RILs) from the Mist × Sanilac population and a non-nodulating mutant (R99)] were screened for their capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen under four nitrogen regimes. The genotypes were evaluated in replicated field trials on N-poor soils over three years for the percent nitrogen derived from atmosphere (%Ndfa), yield, and a number of yield-related traits. Bean genotypes differed for all analyzed traits, and the level of nitrogen significantly affected most of the traits, including %Ndfa and yield in all three years. In contrast, application of rhizobia significantly affected only few traits, and the effect was inconsistent among the years. Nitrogen application reduced symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) to various degrees in different bean genotypes. This variation suggests that SNF in common bean can be improved through breeding and selection for the ability of bean genotypes to fix nitrogen in the presence of reduced fertilizer levels. Moreover, genotypes like RIL_38, RIL_119, and RIL_131, being both high yielding and good nitrogen fixers, have potential for simultaneous improvement of both traits. However, breeding advancement might be slow due to an inconsistent correlation between these traits.