No-tillers who keep livestock might soon be able to plant a non-transgenically modified soybean variety that removes large amounts of soil-applied nitrogen. If the germplasm is further developed into a new cultivar, it could be used by animal producers to manage waste generated by their operations.
The Agricultural Research Service released the soybean germplasm, called Nitrasoy, in conjunction with the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service at North Carolina State University. Agronomist Joseph Burton, physiologist Daniel Israel and microbiologist Paul Bishop developed the germplasm. They are with the ARS Soybean and Nitrogen Fixation Research Unit in Raleigh.
Current commercial soybean varieties forge a give-and-take relationship with soil bacteria called rhizobia, which thrive in the plants’ root nodules. The bacteria turn nitrogen gas, which makes up about 80 percent of the atmosphere, into nitrogen fertilizer that the plant can use to make proteins.
Nitrasoy differs in that it is a non-nodulating soybean that requires large amounts of soil-applied nitrogen to achieve maximum seed yield. Its capacity to recover applied nitrogen from the soil reduces the risk of possible nitrate pollution of groundwater from livestock operations.
Nitrasoy seed has been deposited in the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation and the National Plant Germplasm System, and the seeds have been made available by the ARS for further research.
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