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Review article2021Peer reviewed

Quantifying country-to-global scale nitrogen fixation for grain legumes: I. Reliance on nitrogen fixation of soybean, groundnut and pulses

Peoples, Mark B.; Giller, Ken E.; Jensen, Erik S.; Herridge, David F.


Background We collated estimates of the percentage of legume N derived from atmospheric N-2 (%Ndfa) for 14 major grain legumes and then analysed and aggregated the data to derive average values for different crops and regions/countries. The effects of cultivation year and whether data collected from experimental plots were relevant to crops growing in farmers' fields were examined. Scope A total of 5374 %Ndfa estimates (observations) were sourced, 4205 from field experiments and 1169 on-farm measurements collected from farmer-grown crops. The largest number of reports (82) and %Ndfa estimates (1391) were for soybean. Conclusions The %Ndfa estimates for each legume species were consistent across years, except for soybean in North America. For some species estimates were also similar across geographic regions. There were no significant differences (P > 0.05) between estimates of %Ndfa derived from experimental plots and farmer-grown legume crops for nine of the 10 crops evaluated. Three distinct groups were identified with statistically-similar average %Ndfa values with associated standard deviations, namely: pigeonpea, faba bean and lupin - 74 +/- 11.8 %; groundnut, green and black gram, cowpea, chickpea, field pea, lentil, vetches and Bambara groundnut - 62 +/- 13.4 %; common bean - 38 +/- 11.1 %. There were three distinct different regional groupings for soybean: Brazil - 78 +/- 6.3 %; North America, Argentina, Asia, Africa and Oceania - 61 +/- 14.0 %; Europe - 44 +/- 13.8 %. Our findings provide more certainty and simplify the challenge of using field-scale measures of legume %Ndfa to estimate country-to-global inputs of fixed N from grain legumes.


Biological nitrogen fixation; Global estimates; Oilseed legumes; Pulses; Soybean; Symbiotic fixation

Published in

Plant and Soil
2021, Volume: 469, number: 1-2, pages: 1-14
Publisher: SPRINGER

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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