N2 fixation ability of different dry bean genotypes.
Common bean (Phaseolous vulgaris L.) is generally known as a weak N2 fixer compared with other legumes. The availability of genetic variation for N2 fixation potential of common bean supports the idea that symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) in common bean can be improved through breeding. To assess the potential N2 fixation of selected common bean genotypes, 12 bean varieties including three Andean and nine Middle American were screened for SNF ability and related traits in controlled environments and field trials in Ontario, Canada. A non-nodulating mutant, R99, was used as the reference plant to estimate nitrogen derived from the atmosphere (Ndfa) through the natural 15N abundance method. Significant variation was found among the bean genotypes for Ndfa and its related traits. Environmental and genotype by environmental effects significantly influenced Ndfa and its related traits. The three Andean bean genotypes were superior to Middle American genotypes for nodulation ability, while the Middle American genotypes were generally stronger nitrogen fixers in optimum soil moisture conditions. In general, nitrogen fixation was found to be significantly associated with seed yield and carbon isotope discrimination, an indicator of water use efficiency.
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