Nitrogen nutrition effects on development, growth and nitrogen accumulation of vegetables

H. Biemond

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


<p>In order to be able to match nitrogen supply and nitrogen requirement of vegetable crops, insight is necessary in the responses to nitrogen of important processes of growth and development. This study focused on effects of amount of nitrogen applied and fractionation of nitrogen supply on leaf attributes, accumulation and partitioning of dry matter and nitrogen in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), Brussels sprouts ( <em>Brassica oleracea</em> L. var <em>gemmifera</em> DC), leek ( <em>Allium porrum</em> L.) and spinach ( <em>Spinacia oleracea</em> L.). Effects of amount of nitrogen applied were always much more important than effects of fractionation of nitrogen supply.<br/> <br/>Rate of leaf appearance varied among crops from 0. 15-0.60 leaves d <sup>-1</SUP>; it increased with more nitrogen in Brussels sprouts and spinach. Rates of leaf senescence were enhanced by nitrogen in Brussels sprouts. Life span of leaves was about 70 d for all crops. Rates of leaf expansion and maximum sizes of leaves increased with leaf number until a certain leaf number after which they gradually decreased. Both characteristics increased with more nitrogen. Duration of leaf expansion varied among crops from 18-40 d and decreased in Brussels sprouts with more nitrogen. Maximum size of a leaf was mainly determined by rate of leaf expansion. Except in potato, more nitrogen increased specific leaf area. Differences among nitrogen treatments in total green leaf area reflected the effects of nitrogen on rates of leaf expansion.<p>Total dry matter production was strongly related to leaf area duration. Although more nitrogen applied resulted in more nitrogen taken up and more total dry matter produced, considerable variation was observed in the relation between total nitrogen uptake and total dry matter production. Harvest indices for dry matter varied among crops and treatments from about 0.10-0.87; more nitrogen increased it for Brussels sprouts, but decreased it for leek. Harvest indices for nitrogen varied from about 0.22-0.86; more nitrogen increased it for Brussels sprouts. In general, organic nitrogen concentration increased with increasing node number for leaf blades, petioles and leaf sheaths but not for sprouts. The gradient with node number resulted from a decreasing nitrogen concentration during the leafs life. High nitrate concentrations in the marketable produce were only observed in spinach. Nitrate nitrogen concentrations of leaf blades, petioles and leaf sheaths decreased with increasing leaf number at any time of observation, but were not related to leaf age. However, in stems of Brussels sprouts and stems and tubers of potato, total nitrogen and nitrate nitrogen concentration were closely related.<p>The present findings elucidate the reactions of the crops to nitrogen fertilisation. This is helpful for the fine-tuning of nitrogen fertilisation and to develop modules on plant development in crop simulation models.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Struik, Paul, Promotor
  • Vos, J., Promotor
Award date3 Nov 1995
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789054854289
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • nitrogen
  • allium cepa
  • onions
  • spinacia oleracea
  • spinach
  • solanum tuberosum
  • potatoes
  • brassica oleracea var. gemmifera
  • brussels sprouts
  • growth
  • crops
  • plant physiology
  • plant development
  • leaves

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