There is renewed interest in white lupine (Lupinus albus L.), which is appreciated for its high protein content, full range of essential amino acids and as N source to rainfed cropping systems. Unfortunately, information on its N2 fixation ability is limited. This study aimed to: (i) quantify the N2 fixation ability of white lupine crop at the plot field scale in three different environments of Sardinia (Italy) under Mediterranean climate; (ii) determine the allocation of the plant-fixed N into different organs; and (iii) establish the relationship between fixed N and DM within plant organs. In a 2-year experiment, N2 fixation was estimated using the 15N isotopic dilution method. The productive performances and ability of white lupine to fix N2 widely differed in the three environments; peak values exceeded 300 kg ha−1 of fixed N. There were significant differences in the quantity of fixed N found in each plant organ at physiological maturity with 5, 20, 19 and 57 % of fixed N partitioned to roots, shoots, pod valves and grain, respectively. After grain harvesting, the net N balance ranged from negative values to 160 kg N ha−1. The relationship between fixed N and DM yield indicated 60, 34, 8 and 6 kg of fixed N per t of grain, pod valves, shoots and root, respectively, showing that fixed N preferentially accumulated in seeds at physiological maturity. Due to its high potential for N2 fixation and N benefit, white lupine represents a valuable crop option under rainfed Mediterranean conditions.
|Scooped by Jean-Michel Ané|