Legume Nitrogen Utilization Under Drought Stress

  • V. Castañeda
  • E. Gil-Quintana
  • A. Echeverria
  • EM. GonzálezEmail author


Legumes account for around 27% of the world’s primary crop production and can be classified based on their use and traits into grain and forage legumes. Legumes can establish symbiosis with N-fixing soil bacteria. As a result, a new organ is formed, the nodule, where the reduction of atmospheric N2 into ammonia is carried out catalyzed by the bacterial exclusive enzyme nitrogenase. The process, highly energy demanding, is known as symbiotic nitrogen fixation and provides all the N needs of the plant, thus avoiding the use of N fertilizers in the context of sustainable agriculture. However, legume crops are often grown under non-fixing conditions since legume nodulation is suppressed by high levels of soil nitrogen occurring in chemically fertilized agro-environment. In addition, legumes are very sensitive to environmental stresses, being drought one of the significant constraints affecting crop production. Due to their agricultural and economic importance, scientists have carried out basic and applied research on legumes to better understand responses to abiotic stresses and to further comprehend plant–microbe interactions. An integrated view of nitrogen utilization under drought stress will be presented with particular focus on legume crops.


Amino acids Drought Legumes Nitrogen fixation Roots 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Castañeda
    • 1
  • E. Gil-Quintana
    • 1
  • A. Echeverria
    • 1
  • EM. González
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesPublic University of NavarraPamplonaSpain

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