Improving nitrogen-fixing systems and integrating them into sustainable rice farming uri icon

abstract

  • This paper summarizes recent achievements in exploiting new biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) systems in rice fields, improving their management, and integrating them into rice farming systems. The inoculation of cyanobacteria has been long recommended, but its effect is erratic and unpredictable. Azolla has a long history of use as a green manure, but a number of biological constraints limited its use in tropical Asia. To overcome these constraints, the Azolla-Anabaena system as well as the growing methods were improved. Hybrids between A. microphylla and A. filiculoides (male) produced higher annual biomass than either parent. When Anabaena from high temperature-tolerant A. microphylla was transferred to Anabaena-free A. filiculoides, A. filiculoides became tolerant of high temperature. Azolla can have multiple purposes in addition to being a N source. An integrated Azolla-fish-rice system developed in Fujian, China, could increase farmers' income, reduce expenses, and increase ecological stability. A study using Azolla labeled with N-15 showed the reduction of N losses by fish uptake of N. The Azolla mat could also reduce losses of urea N by lowering floodwater-pH and storing a part of applied N in Azolla. Agronomically useful aquatic legumes have been explored within Sesbania and Aeschynomene. S. rostrata can accumulate more than 100 kg N ha-1 in 45 d. Its N2 fixation by stem nodules is more tolerant of mineral N than that by root nodules, but the flowering of S. rostrata is sensitive to photoperiod. Aquatic legumes can be used in rainfed rice fields as N scavengers and N2 fixers. The general principle of integrated uses of BNF in rice-farming systems is shown.

publication date

  • 1992
  • 1992
  • 1992