Seed Inoculation with Azospirillum Brasilense in the U.S. Soybean Systems

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Symbiotic nitrogen (N) fixation (SNF) is critical to satisfying the nutritional need of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) and maintaining productivity and high seed protein concentration. Due to its low environmental impact, a key factor for increasing the sustainability of soybean systems is to enhance SNF. Seed inoculation with the free-living Azospirillum brasilense alone or with Bradyrhizobium japonicum (herein called co-inoculation) are plausible strategies that have been explored in tropical environments but lack information in temperate regions. Following this rationale, this study aimed to evaluate the impact of seed inoculation with Azospirillum brasilense (herein called Azospirillum) alone or combined with Bradyrhizobium japonicum (herein called Bradyrhizobium) in a range of environments in the United States (US) for: (i) seed yield, (ii) relative abundance of ureides (RAU) as a proxy of SNF, and (iii) seed protein concentration. Twenty-five field studies across the US states with the same experimental design were performed during the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons. The primary outcomes of this research were: (i) yield responses to co-inoculation were considered significant in only 2 out of 25 site-years, (ii) RAU was not increased by Azospirillum inoculation or co-inoculation, and lastly, (iii) seed protein concentration was marginally associated with the inoculation strategies. Although Azospirillum did not impose remarkable gain in any observed plant traits, future studies should focus on mechanistically understanding whether Azospirillum can naturalize in temperate region soils. Still, strategies for enhancing SNF are required for sustainably improving productivity and quality for US soybean systems.

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Field Crops Research




Article : 108537

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