Development of Tools for Diagnosing and Counteracting Ammonium Toxicity in Model and Crop Plants

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Soil and Plant Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2022) | Viewed by 11688

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department Plant Biology and Ecology, Science and Technology Faculty, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Barrio Sarriena s/n, 48940 Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain
Interests: nitrogen fertilization; nitrification inhibitors; nitrous oxide emissions; ammonium nutrition; biochar; crop physiology; crop quality; biostimulants; natural N isotope abundance in crops

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Guest Editor
Departement Adaptation des Plantes a l'Environnement, CNRS, Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, INRAE, CEDEX, 78026 Versailles, France
Interests: management of nitrogen; crops productivity; physiology and molecular genetics of nitrogen nutrition in plants
Institute for Multidisciplinary Applied Biology (IMAB), Campus Arrosadia s/n, Public University of Navarra, 31006 Pamplona, Navarra, Spain
Interests: nitrogen fertilization; ammonium nutrition; nitrogen metabolism; ammonium transport; natural N isotope abundance in crops; 15N labelling; soil-less culture systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nowadays, large amounts of nitrogenous fertilizers are applied to crops, mainly in the form of urea and nitrate. However, applications of nitrogen (N) fertilizer usually exceed plant demand, which causes an imbalance of nutrients in the soil and leads to N losses that are detrimental to the environment.

The use of ammonium-based fertilizers is a possible alternative to limit the use of nitrate as part of sustainable agriculture. In the field, the application of ammonium-based fertilizers together with nitrification inhibitors ensures longer retention of soil N in the form of ammonium, thus reducing N losses and nitrate accumulation both in the soil and in plant tissues. However, prolonged application of ammonium as the main N source can result in the development of physiological and morphological disorders in most plants. These disorders induce a stress called ammonium syndrome that reduces plant growth and causes yield penalty.

Several approaches have been developed to explain the origin of plant sensitivity to ammonium. However, these approaches were not really successful, and the origin of this sensitivity remains a matter of debate. Nevertheless, a number of biological components related to plant ammonium sensitivity have been unraveled over the three last decades. Such biological components could constitute targets to develop tools that can be used both in agriculture and in breeding programs to counteract ammonium toxicity in crops.

For this Special Issue, we seek publications on recent advances in the development of tools to diagnose ammonium toxicity and counteract its negative impact on plant productivity in model and crop species in addition to critical overviews that emphasize future agronomic applications and breeding. Topics covered in these articles can include the identification of new physiological and metabolic indicators (primary or secondary N metabolism), new tools (application of biostimulants, metabolic modulators), technologies, and agricultural practices for determining and/or counteracting ammonium toxicity in crops along with their development and application in different agricultural systems (from the laboratory to the field or in soil-less culture systems).

Dr. Teresa Fuertes-Mendizábal
Prof. Dr. Bertrand Hirel
Dr. Idoia Ariz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • ammonium nutrition
  • ammonium toxicity
  • metabolic indicator/target
  • counteracting molecules and biostimulants
  • tools for diagnostic
  • agricultural practices
  • nitrogen fertilization management

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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20 pages, 1930 KiB  
Article
Screening Canola Genotypes for Resistance to Ammonium Toxicity
by Omar Ali Shaban Al-Awad, Kit Stasia Prendergast, Alan Robson and Zed Rengel
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041150 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 997
Abstract
Soil ammonium toxicity can decrease plant growth, and many crop species have low resistance to ammonium, including canola, an economically important crop. Different genotypes may differ in their resistance to ammonium toxicity, and therefore determining if there are genotypes that exhibit variation in [...] Read more.
Soil ammonium toxicity can decrease plant growth, and many crop species have low resistance to ammonium, including canola, an economically important crop. Different genotypes may differ in their resistance to ammonium toxicity, and therefore determining if there are genotypes that exhibit variation in their ability to tolerate soil ammonium is a research priority. Here, we evaluate how soil ammonium impacts canola root and shoot growth and characterise differences among canola genotypes in regard to resistance to ammonium toxicity. In the first experiment, eight ammonium chloride treatments and five calcium nitrate treatments were tested for their impact on the canola genotype Crusher TT, where high application (60 mg N/kg soil) significantly decreased the dry weight of canola shoots and roots and acidified the soil from pHCaCl2 5.9 to 5.6. In the second experiment, 30 canola genotypes were screened at selected concentrations of NH4+-N, using nitrate as the control. There was wide variation among genotypes in sensitivity to high NH4+-N application. Genotypes G16, G26, and G29 had greater shoot dry weights and the highest shoot N concentration of all genotypes, and G16, G26, and G28 had root dry weight up to 35% higher at high soil NH4+-N compared with other genotypes. In contrast, genotypes G3, G13, and G30 showed the largest reduction in shoot weight, and genotypes G13, G23, and G30 showed the largest reduction in root weight at high NH4+-N application. Residual NH4+-N/kg soil in soil was higher for sensitive than resistant genotypes, suggesting lower NH4+-N use in the former. These results reveal the potential for selecting canola genotypes that are resistant to high NH4+-N concentrations in soil. Full article
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20 pages, 2480 KiB  
Article
Rapid Detection of Urea Fertilizer Effects on VOC Emissions from Cucumber Fruits Using a MOS E-Nose Sensor Array
by Sana Tatli, Esmaeil Mirzaee-Ghaleh, Hekmat Rabbani, Hamed Karami and Alphus Dan Wilson
Agronomy 2022, 12(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12010035 - 24 Dec 2021
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 3948
Abstract
The widespread use of nitrogen chemical fertilizers in modern agricultural practices has raised concerns over hazardous accumulations of nitrogen-based compounds in crop foods and in agricultural soils due to nitrogen overfertilization. Many vegetables accumulate and retain large amounts of nitrites and nitrates due [...] Read more.
The widespread use of nitrogen chemical fertilizers in modern agricultural practices has raised concerns over hazardous accumulations of nitrogen-based compounds in crop foods and in agricultural soils due to nitrogen overfertilization. Many vegetables accumulate and retain large amounts of nitrites and nitrates due to repeated nitrogen applications or excess use of nitrogen fertilizers. Consequently, the consumption of high-nitrate crop foods may cause health risks to humans. The effects of varying urea–nitrogen fertilizer application rates on VOC emissions from cucumber fruits were investigated using an experimental MOS electronic-nose (e-nose) device based on differences in sensor-array responses to volatile emissions from fruits, recorded following different urea fertilizer treatments. Urea fertilizer was applied to cucumber plants at treatment rates equivalent to 0, 100, 200, 300, and 400 kg/ha. Cucumber fruits were then harvested twice, 4 and 5 months after seed planting, and evaluated for VOC emissions using an e-nose technology to assess differences in smellprint signatures associated with different urea application rates. The electrical signals from the e-nose sensor array data outputs were subjected to four aroma classification methods, including: linear and quadratic discriminant analysis (LDA-QDA), support vector machines (SVM), and artificial neural networks (ANN). The results suggest that combining the MOS e-nose technology with QDA is a promising method for rapidly monitoring urea fertilizer application rates applied to cucumber plants based on changes in VOC emissions from cucumber fruits. This new monitoring tool could be useful in adjusting future urea fertilizer application rates to help prevent nitrogen overfertilization. Full article
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15 pages, 1934 KiB  
Article
Ammonium Excess Leads to Ca Restrictions, Morphological Changes, and Nutritional Imbalances in Tomato Plants, Which Can Be Monitored by the N/Ca Ratio
by Claudia Bonomelli, Sergio Tonetto de Freitas, Camila Aguilera, Carola Palma, Rebeca Garay, Maximiliano Dides, Natalia Brossard and José Antonio O’Brien
Agronomy 2021, 11(7), 1437; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11071437 - 20 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3355
Abstract
Both nitrogen and calcium fertilization management are vital for crops, where an imbalance of these elements can cause both physiological and yield problems. It has been proposed that nitrogen absorption, particularly ammonium, is in part dependent on calcium supply. Moreover, the balance between [...] Read more.
Both nitrogen and calcium fertilization management are vital for crops, where an imbalance of these elements can cause both physiological and yield problems. It has been proposed that nitrogen absorption, particularly ammonium, is in part dependent on calcium supply. Moreover, the balance between these two nutrients could be a key indicator of plant growth in some species. Tomato, one of the most cultivated crops worldwide, can also be widely affected by nutritional imbalance. Using large amounts of N fertilizers could lead to an imbalance with other nutrients and, thus, detrimental effects in terms of plant development and yield. Here we show that ammonium excess has a negative impact on plant development and results in calcium deficiency. Moreover, a deficit in calcium nutrition not only affects calcium concentration but also leads to a restriction in N uptake and reduced N concentration in the plant. These effects were evident at the seedling stage and also during flowering/fruit set. Using PCA analysis, we integrated both phenotypic and nutritional imbalances in seedlings and grown plants. Interestingly, the Ca/N ratio appears to be a key indicator to monitor appropriate N and calcium nutrition and more importantly the balance between both. Maintaining this balance could be an essential element for tomato crop production. Full article
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Review

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18 pages, 1088 KiB  
Review
Integrating Ecological Principles for Addressing Plant Production Security and Move beyond the Dichotomy ‘Good or Bad’ for Nitrogen Inputs Choice
by Maria Amélia Martins-Loução, Teresa Dias and Cristina Cruz
Agronomy 2022, 12(7), 1632; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12071632 - 07 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2380
Abstract
Mankind’s strong dependence on nitrogen (N) began when we started farming and, ever since, we have depended on nitrogen in the soil for plant production. More than a century has passed since the discovery of N as an element until the advent of [...] Read more.
Mankind’s strong dependence on nitrogen (N) began when we started farming and, ever since, we have depended on nitrogen in the soil for plant production. More than a century has passed since the discovery of N as an element until the advent of synthetic fertilizers. Today, after a century of Haber–Bosch innovation, many other endeavors and challenges can be launched to understand how the effects of N in the environment can be perceived as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. All this knowledge evolution was truly dependent on the scientific advances, both technological and methodological, and particularly on the approaches at the micro and macro level. As with nearly everything in our lives (e.g., events, people, food, decisions, world history), we tend to use the dichotomy ‘good or bad’ to categorize, and scientific advances are no exception. The integration of scientific and technological advances allows us to move beyond this simple dichotomy ‘good or bad’ and to make choices. Here, we review the main marks in understanding plant nutrition throughout time, with special emphasis on N, from the Greeks to the most recent trends in the 21st century. Since improving plant N use efficiency is a main avenue to meet several Sustainable Developmental Goals (e.g., SDG2 zero hunger, SDG12 responsible production and consumption, SDG15 life on land), the European Green Deal, and The Farm to Fork strategy, we propose that the ecological principles must be integrated in agro-ecosystem management. During the last 40 years, our research group has contributed to: (i) the clarification of the so-called dichotomy of choices when it comes to the environmental effects of N; and (ii) fetching natural solutions for N manmade problems. This was based on the knowledge that life is a continuous symbiotic interplay between mutualism and parasitism depending on environmental conditions and that there is a need for feeding people, assuring food quality and diminishing environmental impacts. We argue that, as a society, we have the scientific and technological means to learn from nature and to apply the ecological rules in agro-ecosystems. However, this is a choice we must make as individuals and as a society. Full article
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