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High-sorgoleone producing sorghum genetic stocks suppress soil nitrification and N2O emissions better than low-sorgoleone producing genetic stocks
Plant and Soil  (IF4.993),  Pub Date : 2022-05-11, DOI: 10.1007/s11104-022-05474-6
Xiang Gao, Kenichi Uno, Papa Saliou Sarr, Tadashi Yoshihashi, Yiyong Zhu, Guntur Venkata Subbarao


Rapid nitrification leads to loss of nitrogen (N) fertilizer in agricultural systems. Plant produced/derived biological nitrification inhibitors (BNIs) are an effective eco-strategy to rein-in soil nitrification to improve crop-N uptake and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in production systems. Sorgoleone is the major component of hydrophobic-BNI-activity in sorghum roots. However, the role of genetic differences in sorgoleone production in reducing soil nitrification and N2O emissions are not established.


Two genetic-stocks of sorghum with high-sorgoleone (HS), and two with low-sorgoleone (LS) production from roots were grown using hydroponics in a plant-growth chamber, in soil in pots in a glasshouse, and in a field experiment. Release of hydrophilic-BNI activity from roots of HS and LS genetic stocks, sorgoleone levels in rhizosphere soils, soil nitrification rates, soil-nitrifier activity and N2O emissions were measured to understand the interplay involving sorgoleone release, hydrophilic-BNI release from roots, soil nitrification, plant growth and N uptake.


HS-producing genetic-stocks showed higher hydrophilic-BNI-capacity compared to LS- producing genetic-stocks. Biomass production and N uptake were significantly higher in HS than in LS genetic-stocks. Glasshouse and field studies suggest that HS genetic stocks had stronger suppressive impact on soil-nitrifier-populations (ammonia-oxidizing archaea and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria), soil-nitrification, and soil-N2O emissions than in LS genetic-stocks.


These results demonstrate that HS sorghum genetic-stocks suppress soil nitrifier activity and can potentially reduce N losses from NO− leaching and N2O emissions more effectively than LS genetic-stocks.