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Effect of nitrogen fertilization on nitrogen dynamics in oilseed rape using ¹⁵N-labeling field experiment

Gombert, Julie, Le Dily, Frédérik, Lothier, Jérémy, Etienne, Philippe, Rossato, Laurence, Allirand, Jean-Michel, Jullien, Alexandra, Savin, Alexandre, Ourry, Alain
Zeitschrift für Pflanzenernährung und Bodenkunde 2010 v.173 no.6 pp. 875-884
Brassica napus var. napus, environmental impact, field experimentation, flowering, leaves, nitrogen, nitrogen content, nitrogen fertilizers, pods, stem elongation, stems
In order to optimize nitrogen (N) fertilization and to reduce the environmental impact of oilseed rape without decreasing yield, a clearer understanding of N dynamics inside the plant is crucial. The present investigation therefore aimed to study the effects of different N-application rates on the dynamics of N uptake, partitioning, and remobilization. The experiment was conducted on winter oilseed rape (Brassica napus L. cv. Capitol) under three levels of N input (0, 100, and 200 kg N ha⁻¹) from stem elongation to maturity using ¹⁵N-labeling technique to distinguish between N uptake and N retranslocation in the plant. Nitrogen fertilization affected the time-course of N uptake and also the allocation of N taken up from flowering to maturity. Most pod N came from N remobilization, and leaves accounted for the largest source of remobilized N regardless the N-application rate. However, the contribution of leaves to the remobilized N pool increased with the N dose whereas the one of taproot decreased. Stems were the main sink for remobilized N from stem elongation to flowering. Leaves remained longer on N200 than on N0 and N100 plants, and N concentration in fallen leaves increased with the N treatment and in N100 plants along an axial gradient from the basal to the upper leaves. Overall, these results show that the timing of N supply is more crucial than the N amount to attain a high N efficiency.