Nitrogen contributions of legume roots to cabbage nutrition


  • Thiago de Oliveira Vargas UFV; Depto de Fitotecnia
  • Ellen Rúbia Diniz Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Paraná
  • Ricardo Henrique Silva Santos UFV; Depto de Fitotecnia
  • Segundo Urquiaga Embrapa Agrobiologia
  • Paulo Roberto Cecon UFV; Depto. de Informática



The effects of roots are generally not considered in studies assessing crop responses to green manure. However, measuring such effects can contribute to a better understanding of crop rotation. In two experiments, we evaluated the content of legume-N in crop tissue and the fertilizer value of the roots and shoots of two legume species. Roots, shoots, or whole plants of the legumes sunhemp (Crotalaria juncea) and jack beans (Canavalia ensiformis) were cropped as green manure to supply nitrogen to cabbage crops (Brassica oleracea var. capitata). The principle of the A-value technique was applied to estimate the fertilizer value of each plant part. In a pot experiment, both the content of legume-N in cabbage and the fertilizer value of the whole plant was higher than the shoots, which was in turn higher than that of the roots. In field condition, roots had a decreasing effect on the N content of cabbage plants. Growing cabbage on legume root residue resulted in an increased absorption of 15N-urea, resulting in negative values ​​for legume-N content: -13.59 g kg-1 and -3.51 g kg-1 for sunhemp and jack beans, respectively. Suggesting both low N supply by roots and N immobilization in soil organic matter or microbial biomass. Future research should focus on estimating the net N acquisition by plants from root residues under field conditions, where rooting patterns and biomass distribution differ from those in pot experiments, therefore giving a more realistic quantitative estimate.


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How to Cite

Vargas, T. de O., Diniz, E. R., Santos, R. H. S., Urquiaga, S., & Cecon, P. R. (2013). Nitrogen contributions of legume roots to cabbage nutrition . Scientia Agricola, 70(6), 415-421.



Crop Science