Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/2/2003
Publication Date: 11/1/2003
Citation: Kumar, K., Rosen, C.J., Russelle, M.P. 2003. A novel approach to regulate soil nitrogen mineralization [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. CD-ROM. Paper No. S03-kumar285158.
Technical Abstract: Protease enzymes play an important role in transforming organic nitrogen (N) in soils and other organic wastes to inorganic forms of N, which are then utilized by plants. Inhibitors of proteases are present naturally in plants and recently their role as providing defense against insects and diseases has been recognized. Transgenic modification has enhanced protease inhibitor expression in several species to develop insect resistant crop cultivars. Similarly, protease inhibitors are also used to stop or slow down the conversion of protein-N to amino acid-N or inorganic-N during ensilage of forages to be used as animal feeds, which improves N use efficiency by ruminant livestock. These inhibitors may also affect the activity of soil proteases, which are responsible for soil N mineralization processes. We hypothesize that incorporation of transgenic plant residues having enhanced protease inhibitor activity will alter the pattern of plant available N in soil. Our preliminary studies using specific protease inhibitors and a complete protease inhibitor cocktail showed that soil N mineralization processes are either slowed or completely inhibited. Incorporation of specific protease inhibitors in crops may provide a means to modify N mineralization, which could help improve N use efficiency by subsequent crops and reduce environmental contamination from N losses.