Submitted to: American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/8/2011
Publication Date: 6/1/2011
Citation: Grisham, M.P., White Jr, P.M., Esh, A.M., El-Kholi, M. 2011. Biological nitrogen fixation in Louisiana sugarcane. Journal of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists. 31:165. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Nitrogen (N) is a major input for sugarcane with crops in Louisiana receiving between 90 and 180 kg/ha with the cost of N increasing 75% in the last decade. Biological N fixation (BNF) may be a viable alternative to fertilizer N. The process relies on endophytic bacteria (bacteria that live among the cells of plant tissues) converting atmospheric N into plant-available N. In 2010, endophytic bacteria were isolated from field-grown commercial sugarcane (HoCP 96-540, L 99-233, L 01-283, Ho 00-950, L 97-128, and LCP 85-384) at four locations. The isolations were made on N-deleted media indicating that they must generate their own N to grow. Members of three genera (Gluconacetobacter, Burkholderia, and Herbaspirillum) known to contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria were identified among the many bacterial isolates. Fifty-nine bacterial isolates were selected for further study. The N-fixation capacity of Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus isolated from Ho 00-950 has been demonstrated using the acetylene reduction assay. Determining the N-fixation capacity of other isolates has been initiated. If these bacteria are found to be beneficial and provide the sugarcane plant with moderate, dependable levels of N, lower fertilizer rates could be recommended.