Comparing 15N-labelling techniques for enriching above- and below-ground components of the plant-soil system

K. Yasmin, G. Cadisch, Elizabeth Baggs

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Comparisons were made of three different N-15-feeding techniques, leaf, petiole and stem feeding, to identify the most efficient technique for labelling above-and below-ground plant biomass under controlled environment conditions. N-15-urea (0.5%, 10 atom % excess N-15) was applied to chickpea (Cicer aritenium var. ICCV 5003) plants twice during early growth. Leaf feeding was found to be the most efficient in terms of N-15-solution uptake (5.9 ml 48 h(-1)) and N-15-enrichment at harvest, with 0.95, 0.41, 0.79, 0.67 and 0.22 atom % excess N-15 in the leaves, stems, grain, grain straw and clean root fractions, respectively. Solution uptake was low in the second stem feeding event due to blockage of the drilled hole, resulting in low N-15-enrichment of leaves (0.29 atom % excess N-15). Although petiole feeding resulted in more even relative enrichments among plant parts our results highlight the usefulness of leaf N-15-feeding to estimate below-ground plant N and to trace the long-term fate of plant-derived N within the soil. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-400
Number of pages3
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • below-ground biomass
  • Cicer aritenium
  • leaf feeding
  • petiole feeding
  • stern feeding
  • N-15-enrichment
  • ROOT

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