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23 October 2015 Boron deficiency in pasture based on subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) is linked to symbiotic malfunction
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Field and glasshouse experiments confirmed the occurrence of boron (B) deficiency in subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) pasture in eastern Victoria. Diminished productivity was linked to the small-seededness of clover and the poor effectiveness of clover root-nodule bacteria (rhizobia, Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii). Productivity, especially of clover and clover seed, increased following applications of up to 6 kg B ha–1 (P < 0.001). The response was delayed, occurring several years after the initial application of B, unless the land was resown with fresh clover seed inoculated with an effective strain of rhizobia.

B deficiency in the nodulated legume induced conditions within the plant and or its rhizobia that led to impaired nitrogen (N2) fixation. Glasshouse research indicated that populations of soil-borne rhizobia taken from B-deficient soils were poorly effective in N2 fixation and that rhizobia from soils growing subterranean clover cv. Leura were significantly less effective (P < 0.05) than rhizobia from a soil growing cv. Mt Barker.

Additionally, subterranean clover seed generated in B-deficient soils was at least one-third smaller than the seed of commercial seed but responded to inoculation with effective rhizobia. This indicated that any symbiotic malfunction of clover from B-deficient soils was not due to an inability to respond to nitrogen per se. On the other hand, cv. Leura from B-deficient soils fixed significantly less N2 than commercial cv. Leura when each was inoculated with rhizobia from B-deficient soils.

© CSIRO 2015
Leo J. Hamilton, Kevin F. M. Reed, Elainne M. A. Leach, and John Brockwell "Boron deficiency in pasture based on subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) is linked to symbiotic malfunction," Crop and Pasture Science 66(11), 1197-1212, (23 October 2015).
Received: 21 October 2014; Accepted: 1 July 2015; Published: 23 October 2015

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