Suppression of soil nitrification by plants

Subbarao, G V and Yoshihashi, T and Worthington, M and Nakahara, K and Ando, Y and Sahrawat, K L and Rao, I M and Lata, J C and Kishii, M and Braun, H J (2015) Suppression of soil nitrification by plants. Plant Science, 233. pp. 155-164. ISSN 0168-9452

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Nitrification, the biological oxidation of ammonium to nitrate, weakens the soil’s ability to retain N and facilitates N-losses from production agriculture through nitrate-leaching and denitrification. This process has a profound influence on what form of mineral-N is absorbed, used by plants, and retained in the soil, or lost to the environment, which in turn affects N-cycling, N-use efficiency (NUE) and ecosystem health and services. As reactive-N is often the most limiting in natural ecosystems, plants have acquired a range of mechanisms that suppress soil-nitrifier activity to limit N-losses via N-leaching and denitrification. Plants’ ability to produce and release nitrification inhibitors from roots and suppress soil-nitrifier activity is termed ‘biological nitrification inhibition’ (BNI). With recent developments in methodology for insitu measurement of nitrification inhibition, it is now possible to characterize BNI function in plants. This review assesses the current status of our understanding of the production and release of biological nitrification inhibitors (BNIs) and their potential in improving NUE in agriculture. A suite of genetic, soil and environmental factors regulate BNI activity in plants. BNI-function can be genetically exploited to improve the BNI-capacity of major food- and feed-crops to develop next-generation production systems with reduced nitrification and N2O emission rates to benefit both agriculture and the environment. The feasibility of such an approach is discussed based on the progresses made.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: RP-Resilient Dryland Systems
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biological nitrification inhibition (BNI); Climate change; Global warming; Nitrification inhibitors; Nitrous oxide emissions; Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE)
Subjects: Others > Soil Science
Depositing User: Mr B K Murthy
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2015 05:26
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2015 05:26
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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