Drought stress responses of the Medicago truncatula - Ensifer meliloti symbiosis on nodule senescence and nitrogen fixation : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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While the use of nitrogen (N) fertilizer has provided many benefits to agriculture, incessant use of it can reduce soil organic matter and fertility resulting in lower crop yields. Legume plants can fix its own N2 through symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) to promote plant growth by developing facultative root organs called nodules. Therefore, increasing the rate of SNF to reduce dependence on N fertilizer is a promising strategy for sustainable legume production. In legume cultivation this symbiotic process confronts two major challenges. First, SNF is suppressed by readily available N in the soil and second, the early senescence of N-fixing nodules can limit any further fixation to occur. Previous reports show that N fertilizer supresses SNF activity in many legumes and supports plant growth better than SNF. Moreover, suppression of SNF can also be induced by drought stress which causes early nodule senescence and subsequent reduced rates of plant growth. This thesis addresses the process of SNF suppression in two Medicago truncatula selected genotypes in response to external N treatment and also delivers a molecular view on the regulation of drought-induced nodule senescence processes.--Shortened abstract
Figures II & V (=Puppo et al., 2005 Figs 1 & 5) were removed for copyright reasons. Other Figures are open access, some published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits re-use provided the original work is properly cited.
Medicago, Effect of drought on, Legumes, Effect of stress on, Adaptation, Nitrogen, Fixation, Nitrogen-fixing microorganisms