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Genotypic Differences in Root Hair Deformation and Subsequent Nodulation for Red Clover under Different Additions of Starter N Fertilization

Thilakarathna, R. M. M. S., Papadopoulos, Y. A., Fillmore, S. A. E., Prithiviraj, B.
Journal of agronomy and crop science 2012 v.198 no.4 pp. 295-303
Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii, Trifolium pratense, cultivars, deformation, diploidy, genetic variation, nitrogen content, nitrogen fertilizers, nitrogen fixation, nodulation, pastures, root hairs, tetraploidy
Red clover cultivars, including diploid and tetraploid, are commonly used in legume‐based pasture mixtures. However, information on nodulation under different starter N regimens is limited. We hypothesized that there is genetic variability among different red clover cultivars for nodulation. A root hair deformation assay was conducted using three diploid (AC Christie, Tapani and CRS15) and three tetraploid (Tempus, CRS18 and CRS39) red clover cultivars by inoculating them with Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar trifolii. Nodulation and morphological characteristics of two selected red clover cultivars, AC Christie and Tempus, were determined under five starter N concentrations (0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.8 and 1.6 mg per plant). Inoculation with rhizobia increased root hair deformation with significant interaction across cultivars. Nodulation was delayed under high starter N concentrations, and genotypic differences were evident for days‐to‐nodule initiation. There was a positive quadratic response to starter N for AC Christie and a negative quadratic response for Tempus for nodulation. Tempus had more active nodules (92 %) than AC Christie (73 %). The genetic variability of red clover cultivars should be considered in N fixation studies and their response to availability of initial N.