|Maize–legume intercropping promote N uptake through changing the root spatial distribution, legume nodulation capacity, and soil N availability
|ZHENG Ben-chuan1, 2*, ZHOU Ying1, 2*, CHEN Ping1, 2, ZHANG Xiao-na1, 2, DU Qing1, 2, YANG Huan1, 2, WANG Xiao-chun1, 2, YANG Feng1, 2, XIAO Te1, 2, LI Long3, YANG Wen-yu1, 2, YONG Tai-wen1, 2
|1 College of Agronomy, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, P.R.China
2 Sichuan Engineering Research Center for Crop Strip Intercropping System/Key Laboratory of Crop Ecophysiology and Farming System in Southwest, Ministry of Agriculture, Chengdu 611130, P.R.China
3 College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing100093, P.R.China
Abstract Legume cultivars affect N uptake, component crop growth, and soil physical and chemical characteristics in maize–legume intercropping systems. However, how belowground interactions mediate root growth, N fixation, and nodulation of different legumes to affect N uptake is still unclear. Hence, a two-year experiment was conducted with five planting patterns, i.e., maize–soybean strip intercropping (IMS), maize–peanut strip intercropping (IMP), and corresponding monocultures (monoculture maize (MM), monoculture soybean (MS), and monoculture peanut (MP)), and two N application rates, i.e., no N fertilizer (N–) and conventional N fertilizer (N+), to examine relationships between N uptake and root distribution of crops, legume nodulation and soil N availability. Results showed that the averaged N uptake per unit area of intercrops was significantly lower than the corresponding monocultures. Compared with the monoculture system, the N uptake of the intercropping systems increased by 31.7–45.4% in IMS and by 7.4–12.2% in IMP, respectively. The N uptake per plant of intercropped maize and soybean significantly increased by 61.6 and 31.8%, and that of intercropped peanuts significantly decreased by 46.6% compared with the corresponding monocultures. Maize and soybean showed asymmetrical distribution of roots in strip intercropping systems. The root length density (RLD) and root surface area density (RSAD) of intercropped maize and soybean were significantly greater than that of the corresponding monocultures. The roots of intercropped peanuts were confined, which resulted in decreased RLD and RSAD compared with the monoculture. The nodule number and nodule fresh weight of soybean were significantly greater in IMS than in MS, and those of peanut were significantly lower in IMP than in MP. The soil protease, urease, and nitrate reductase activities of maize and soybean were significantly greater in IMS and IMP than in the corresponding monoculture, while the enzyme activities of peanut were significantly lower in IMP than in MP. The soil available N of maize and soybean was significantly greater increased in IMS and IMP than in the corresponding monocultures, while that of IMP was significantly lower than in MP. In summary, the IMS system was more beneficial to N uptake than the IMP system. The intercropping of maize and legumes can promote the N uptake of maize, thus reducing the need for N application and improving agricultural sustainability.
Received: 09 February 2021
Accepted: 13 May 2021
|Fund: The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31872856) and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFD030020205).
|About author: ZHENG Ben-chuan, E-mail: email@example.com; Correspondence YONG Tai-wen, Mobile: +86-13980173140, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; YANG Wen-yu, E-mail: email@example.com
* Thses authors contributed equally to this study.
Cite this article:
ZHENG Ben-chuan, ZHOU Ying, CHEN Ping, ZHANG Xiao-na, DU Qing, YANG Huan, WANG Xiao-chun, YANG Feng, XIAO Te, LI Long, YANG Wen-yu, YONG Tai-wen.
Maize–legume intercropping promote N uptake through changing the root spatial distribution, legume nodulation capacity, and soil N availability. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 21(6): 1755-1771.
| Awal M A, Koshi H, Ikeda T. 2006. Radiation interception and use by maize/peanut intercrop canopy. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 139, 74–83.
Badri D V, Vivanco J M. 2009. Regulation and function of root exudates. Plant, Cell and Environment, 32, 666–681.
Bais H P, Weir T L, Perry L G, Gilroy S, Vivanco J M. 2006. The role of root exudates in rhizosphere interactions with plants and other organisms. Annual Review of Plant Biology, 57, 233–266.
Banik P, Midya A, Sarkar B K, Ghose S S. 2006. Wheat and chickpea intercropping systems in an additive series experiment: advantages and weed smothering. European Journal of Agronomy, 24, 325–332.
Baudoin E, Benizri E, Guckert A. 2003. Impact of artificial root exudates on the bacterial community structure in bulk soil and maize rhizosphere. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 35, 1183–1192.
Beedy T L, Snapp S S, Akinnifesi F K, Sileshi G W. 2010. Impact of Gliricidia sepium intercropping on soil organic matter fractions in a maize-based cropping system. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 138, 139–146.
Callan E J, Kennedy C W. 1995. Intercropping stokes aster: Effect of shade on photosynthesis and plant morphology. Crop Science, 35, 1110–1115.
Chapagain T, Riseman A. 2014. Barley–pea intercropping: Effects on land productivity, carbon and nitrogen transformations. Field Crops Research, 166, 18–25.
Chen J, Arafat Y, Wu L K, Xiao Z G, Li Q S, Khan M A, Khan M U, Lin S, Lin W X. 2018. Shifts in soil microbial community, soil enzymes and crop yield under peanut/maize intercropping with reduced nitrogen levels. Applied Soil Ecology, 124, 327–334.
Chen Y, Zhou T, Zhang C, Wang K, Liu J, Lu J, Xu K. 2015. Rational phosphorus application facilitates the sustainability of the wheat/maize/soybean relay strip intercropping system. PLoS ONE, 10, e0141725.
Chilundo M, Joel A, Wesström I, Brito R, Messing I. 2017. Response of maize root growth to irrigation and nitrogen management strategies in semi-arid loamy sandy soil. Field Crops Research, 200, 143–162.
Choudhary V K, Dixit A, Chauhan B S. 2016. Resource-use maximisation through legume intercropping with maize in the eastern Himalayan region of India. Crop and Pasture Science, 67, 508–519.
Fan F L, Zhang F S, Song Y N, Sun J H, Bao X G, Guo T W, Li L. 2006. Nitrogen fixation of faba bean (Vicia faba L.) interacting with a non-legume in two contrasting intercropping systems. Plant and Soil, 283, 275–286.
Fan J L, McConkey B, Wang H, Janzen H. 2016. Root distribution by depth for temperate agricultural crops. Field Crops Research, 189, 68–74.
Fan Y F, Wang Z L, Liao D P, Raza M A, Wang B B, Zhang J W, Chen J X, Feng L Y, Wu X L, Liu C Y, Yang W Y, Yang F. 2020. Uptake and utilization of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as related to yield advantage in maize–soybean intercropping under different row configurations. Scientific Reports, 10, 9504.
Fu Z D, Zhou L, Chen P, Du Q, Pang T, Song C, Wang X C, Liu W G, Yang W Y, Yong T W. 2019. Effects of maize–soybean relay intercropping on crop nutrient uptake and soil bacterial community. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 18, 2006–2018.
Gao H X, Meng W W, Zhang C C, Werf W V D, Zhang Z, Wan S B, Zhang F S. 2020. Yield and nitrogen uptake of sole and intercropped maize and peanut in response to N fertilizer input. Food and Energy Security, 9, e187.
Gao Y, Duan A W, Qiu X Q, Liu Z G, Sun J S, Zhang J P, Wang H Z. 2010. Distribution of roots and root length density in a maize/soybean strip intercropping system. Agricultural Water Management, 98, 199–212.
Gao Y, Wu P T, Zhao X N, Wang Z K. 2014. Growth, yield, and nitrogen use in the wheat/maize intercropping system in an arid region of northwestern China. Field Crops Research, 167, 19–30.
Gao Y L, Sun Z X, Bai W, Feng L S, Cai Q, Feng C, Zhang Z. 2016. Spatial distribution characteristics of root system and the yield in maize–peanut intercropping system. Journal of Maize Sciences, 24, 79–87. (in Chinese)
Göttlicher S, Knohl A, Wanek W, Buchmann N, Richter A. 2010. Short-term changes in carbon isotope composition of soluble carbohydrates and starch: From canopy leaves to the root system. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 20, 653–660.
Hu F L, Zhao C, Feng F X, Chai Q, Mu Y P, Zhang Y. 2016. Improving N management through intercropping alleviates the inhibitory effect of mineral N on nodulation in pea. Plant and Soil, 412, 235–251.
Lalande R, Gagnon B, Simard R R, Côté D. 2000. Soil microbial biomass and enzyme activity following liquid hog manure application in a long-term field trial. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 80, 263–269.
Latati M, Bargaz A, Belarbi B, Lazali M, Benlahrech S, Tellah S, Kaci G, Drevon J J, Ounane S M. 2016. The intercropping common bean with maize improves the rhizobial efficiency, resource use and grain yield under low phosphorus availability. European Journal of Agronomy, 72, 80–90.
Li B, Li Y Y, Wu H M, Zhang F F, Li C J, Li X X, Lambers H, Li L. 2016. Root exudates drive interspecific facilitation by enhancing nodulation and N2 fixation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113, 6496–6501.
Li L, Sun J, Zhang F, Guo T, Bao X, Smith F A, Smith S E. 2006. Root distribution and interactions between intercropped species. Oecologia, 147, 280–290.
Li L, Sun J H, Zhang F S, Li X L, Yang S C, Rengel Z. 2001. Wheat/maize or wheat/soybean strip intercropping. I. Yield advantage and interspecific interactions on nutrients. Field Crops Research, 71, 123–137.
Li Q, Chen J, Wu L, Luo X, Li N, Arafat Y, Lin S, Lin W. 2018. Belowground interactions impact the soil bacterial community, soil fertility, and crop yield in maize/peanut intercropping systems. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19, 622–638.
Li Y Y, Yu C B, Cheng X, Li C J, Sun J H, Zhang F S, Lambers H, Li L. 2009. Intercropping alleviates the inhibitory effect of N fertilization on nodulation and symbiotic N2 fixation of faba bean. Plant and Soil, 323, 295–308.
Liu L, Wang Y F, Yan X W, Li J W, Jiao N Y, Hu S J. 2017. Biochar amendments increase the yield advantage of legume-based intercropping systems over monoculture. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 237, 16–23.
Liu X M, Yong T W, Su B Y, Liu W Y, Zhou L, Song C, Yang F, Wang X C, Yang W Y. 2014. Effect of reduced N application on crop yield in maize–soybean intercropping system. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 40, 1629–1638. (in Chinese)
Liu Y X, Sun J H, Zhang F F, Li L. 2020. The plasticity of root distribution and nitrogen uptake contributes to recovery of maize growth at late growth stages in wheat/maize intercropping. Plant and Soil, 447, 39–53.
Ma L S, Li Y J, Wu P T, Zhao X N, Chen X L, Gao X D. 2019. Effects of varied water regimes on root development and its relations with soil water under wheat/maize intercropping system. Plant and Soil, 439, 113–130.
Ma Y H, Fu S L, Zhang X P, Zhao K, Chen H Y H. 2017. Intercropping improves soil nutrient availability, soil enzyme activity and tea quantity and quality. Applied Soil Ecology, 119, 171–178.
Makinde E A, Oluwatoyinbo F I, Ayoola O T. 2007. Intercropping and crop residue incorporation: Effects on soil nutrient status. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 29, 235–244.
Malunga I, Lelei J J, Makumba W. 2017. Effect of mineral nitrogen and legume intercrops on maize (Zea mays L.) nitrogen uptake, nutrient use efficiency and yields in Chitedze and Zomba, Malawi. Sustainable Agriculture Research, 7, 64–79.
Matt L, Elizabeth D. 1993. Crop rotation and intercropping strategies for weed management. Ecological Applications, 3, 92–122.
Philipson J J. 1988. Root growth in Sitka spruce and Douglas-fir transplants: Dependence on the shoot and stored carbohydrates. Tree Physiology, 4, 101–108.
Pons T L, Pearcy R W. 1994. Nitrogen reallocation and photosynthetic acclimation in response to partial shading in soybean plants. Physiologia Plantarum, 92, 636–644.
Rahman T, Ye L, Liu X, Iqbal N, Du J B, Gao R C, Liu W G, Yang F, Yang W Y. 2016. Water use efficiency and water distribution response to different planting patterns in maize–soybean relay strip intercropping systems. Experimental Agriculture, 53, 159–177.
Ramamoorthy P, Lakshmanan K, Upadhyaya H D, Vadez V, Varshney R K. 2017. Root traits confer grain yield advantages under terminal drought in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). Field Crops Research, 201, 146–161.
Ren Y Y, Wang X L, Zhang S Q, Palta J A, Chen Y L. 2017. Influence of spatial arrangement in maize–soybean intercropping on root growth and water use efficiency. Plant and Soil, 415, 131–144.
Salvagiotti F, Cassman K G, Specht J E, Walters D T, Weiss A, Dobermann A. 2008. Nitrogen uptake, fixation and response to fertilizer N in soybeans: A review. Field Crops Research, 108, 1–13.
Senaratne R, Liyanage N D L, Ratnasinghe D S. 1993. Effect of K on nitrogen fixation of intercrop groundnut and the competition between intercrop groundnut and maize. Fertilizer Research, 31, 9–14.
Stern W R. 1993. Nitrogen fixation and transfer in intercrop systems. Field Crops Research, 34, 335–356.
Tjepkema J D, Winship L J. 1980. Energy requirement for nitrogen fixation in actinorhizal and legume root nodules. Science, 209, 279–281.
Waghmaref A B, Singh S P. 1984. Sorghum–legume intercropping and the effects of nitrogen fertilization. I. Yield and nitrogen uptake by crops. Experimental Agriculture, 20, 251–259.
Wang Q, Hou F, Dong S, Xie B, Li A, Zhang H, Zhang L. 2013. Effects of shading on the photosynthetic capacity, endogenous hormones and root yield in purple-fleshed sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam). Plant Growth Regulation, 72, 113–122.
Xia H Y, Zhao J H, Sun J H, Bao X G, Christie P, Zhang F S, Li L. 2013. Dynamics of root length and distribution and shoot biomass of maize as affected by intercropping with different companion crops and phosphorus application rates. Field Crops Research, 150, 52–62.
Yang F, Huang S, Gao R C, Liu W G, Yong T W, Wang X C, Wu X L, Yang W Y. 2014. Growth of soybean seedlings in relay strip intercropping systems in relation to light quantity and red:far-red ratio. Field Crops Research, 155, 245–253.
Yang Y, Stomph T J, Makowski D, van der Werf W. 2015. Temporal niche differentiation increases the land equivalent ratio of annual intercrops: A meta-analysis. Field Crops Research, 184, 133–144.
Yong T W, Chen P, Dong Q, Du Q, Yang F, Wang X C, Liu W G, Yang W Y. 2018a. Optimized nitrogen application methods to improve nitrogen use efficiency and nodule nitrogen fixation in a maize–soybean relay intercropping system. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 17, 664–676.
Yong T W, Chen P, Liu X M, Zhou L, Song C, Wang X C, Yang F, Liu W G, Yang W Y. 2018b. Effect of reduced nitrogen on soil ammonification, nitrification, and nitrogen fixation in maize–soybean relay intercropping systems. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 10, 1485–1495. (in Chinese)
Yong T W, Liu X M, Liu W Y, Su B Y, Song C, Yang F, Wang X C, Yang W Y. 2014. Effects of reduced N application rate on yield and nutrient uptake and utilization in maize–soybean relay strip intercropping system. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 25, 474–482. (in Chinese)
Yong T W, Liu X M, Yang F, Song C, Wang X C, Liu W G, Su B Y, Zhou L, Yang W Y. 2015. Characteristics of nitrogen uptake, use and transfer in a wheat–maize–soybean relay intercropping system. Plant Production Science, 18, 388–397.
Yong T W, Yang W Y, Xiang D B, Wan Y, Liu W G, Wang X C. 2013. Effect of wheat/maize/soybean and wheat/maize/sweet potato relay strip intercropping on soil nitrogen content and nitrogen transfer. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 38, 148–158. (in Chinese)
Yu P, White P J, Hochholdinger F, Li C J. 2014. Phenotypic plasticity of the maize root system in response to heterogeneous nitrogen availability. Planta, 240, 667–678.
Yuan X Y, Fu M L, Zhang Y Y, Lu J M, Wang J L, Luo J C, Liu Y. 2018. Effect of nitrogen application on plant development of single cropping and intercropping maize and peanut at middle growth stage. Journal of Peanut Science, 47, 19–25. (in Chinese)
Zhang Y N, Liu M J, Saiz G, Dannenmann M, Guo L, Tao Y Y, Shi J C, Zuo Q, Butterbach-Bahl K, Li G Y, Lin S. 2017. Enhancement of root systems improves productivity and sustainability in water saving ground cover rice production system. Field Crops Research, 213, 186–193.
Zhou X G, Yu G B, Wu F Z. 2011. Effects of intercropping cucumber with onion or garlic on soil enzyme activities, microbial communities and cucumber yield. European Journal of Soil Biology, 47, 279–287.
|No Suggested Reading articles found!