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Monday, December 13, 2010

Sesbania - the great nitrogen fixer

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Sesbania rostrata is a native legume of West Africa. It forms a symbiotic relationship with Azorhizobium caulinodans and is renowned for it's stem nodulation. Both stem and root nodules fix nitrogen however root nodules form at the curled root hair while stem nodules occur at the sites of adventitious root primordia via "crack" entry. The stem nodules unlike the root nodules contain functioning chloroplasts in the nodule cortex and are therefore capable of carbon fixation

Sesbania rostrata has a very fast growth rate, is able to grow in flooded habitats and is very nitrogen rich, thus it is viewed as a potential crop which can be used as a green manure for rice crops. Here it could be grown in the field before the rice crop is sown, then ploughed back into the soil replenishing the nitrogen levels. 

Stem nodules are very useful for our work due to the ease of access to the nodules; also their carbon fixing properties make them useful in the work on the relationships between photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation.

 Image 1 : Sesbania rostrata

Image 2 : Nodules on stem (S. rostrata)

Key words : Sesbania rostrata, legume, nitrogen fixation

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