Plant and Soil

, Volume 369, Issue 1–2, pp 187–197 | Cite as

Use of a 15N2 labelling technique to estimate exudation by white clover and transfer to companion ryegrass of symbiotically fixed N

  • F. Lesuffleur
  • C. Salon
  • C. Jeudy
  • J. B. Cliquet
Regular Article


Backgrounds and aims

N rhizodeposition by legumes leads to enrichment of N in soils and in companion plants. N rhizodeposition can be divided into two major components, root exudation and root senescence. Our aim was to quantify N root exudation in white clover (Trifolium repens L.) through an estimation of short-term N rhizodeposition and to assess its impact on N transfer to companion perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) grown in mixture with clover.


15N2 provided in the root atmosphere for 3 days was used to estimate transfer of symbiotically fixed nitrogen (SFN) to the growing medium by clover grown in pure stand and to ryegrass by clover grown in mixture for 2 months.


The proportion of N rhizodeposited over the 3 days increased from 3.5 % of SFN in pure stand to 5.3 % in mixture. The 15N-enrichment of ammonium from the adhering substrate shows that a part of the rhizodeposited N was released in the form of ammonium. 4 % of the rhizodeposited N was taken up by ryegrass during the labelling period.


This study showed a significant contribution of root N exudation to the total N rhizodeposition of legumes and in the transfer of N to grasses.


Rhizodeposition Nitrogen Clover Ryegrass Transfer Ammonium 



We thank Anne-Françoise Ameline for technical assistance during the labeling experiment and Marie-Paule Bataille for ammonium and isotopic analysis. We are grateful to Dr Laurence Cantrill for English improvement of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Lesuffleur
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Salon
    • 3
  • C. Jeudy
    • 3
  • J. B. Cliquet
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.INRA UMR 950, EVA Ecophysiologie Végétale, Agronomie et nutritions N,C,S, Université de CaenCaen CedexFrance
  2. 2.Université de Caen UMR 950, EVA Ecophysiologie Végétale, Agronomie et nutritions N,C,S, Université de CaenCaen CedexFrance
  3. 3.UMR1347 Agroécologie AgroSup/INRA/uBDijon CedexFrance

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