Experimental Agriculture



CARBON (13C) AND NITROGEN (15N) TRANSLOCATION IN A MAIZE-STRIGA HERMONTHICA ASSOCIATION


GODWIN K. S. AFLAKPUI a1p1, P. J. GREGORY a1c1 and R. J. FROUD-WILLIAMS a2
a1 Department of Soil Science, The University of Reading, P. O. Box 233, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6DW
a2 Department of Agricultural Botany, School of Plant Sciences, The University of Reading, 2, Earley Gate, Reading, RG6 6AU

Article author query
aflakpui gk   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
gregory pj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
froud-williams r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

The translocation of C and N in a maize-Striga hermonthica association was investigated at three rates of nitrogen application in a glasshouse experiment. The objectives were to measure the transfer of C and N from maize to S. hermonthica and to determine whether the amount of N in the growing medium affected the proportions of C and N transferred. Young plants of maize were labelled in a 13CO2 atmosphere and leaf tips were immersed in (15NH4)2SO4 solution. The Striga×N interaction was not significant for any of the responses measured. Total dry matter for infected maize was significantly smaller than for uninfected maize from 43 to 99 days after planting, but N application increased total dry matter at all sampling times. Infected maize plants partitioned 39–45% of their total dry matter to the roots compared with 28–31% for uninfected maize. Dry matter of S. hermonthica was not affected by the rate of N applied. S. hermonthica derived 100% of its carbon from maize before emergence, decreasing to 22–59% thereafter; the corresponding values for nitrogen were up to 59% pre-emergence and up to 100% after emergence. The relative proportions of nitrogen depleted from the host (up to 10%) were greater than those of carbon (maximum 1.2%) at all times of sampling after emergence of the parasite. The results show that the parasite was more dependent on the host for nitrogen than for carbon.

(Accepted November 17 2004)


Correspondence:
c1 Corresponding author. Current address: Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Scotland, DD2 5DA. Email: Peter.Gregory@scri.ac.uk
p1 Permanent address: Crops Research Institute (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), P. O. Box 3785, Kumasi, Ghana.