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The National Agricultural Library is one of four national libraries of the United States, with locations in Beltsville, Maryland and Washington, D.C. It houses one of the world's largest and most accessible agricultural information collections and serves as the nexus for a national network of state land-grant and U.S. Department of Agriculture field libraries. In fiscal year 2011 (Oct 2010 through Sept 2011) NAL delivered more than 100 million direct customer service transactions.

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Journal Article

Journal Article

Root foraging elicits niche complementarity-dependent yield advantage in the ancient ‘three sisters’ (maize/bean/squash) polyculture  [2014]

Zhang, Chaochun; Postma, Johannes A.; York, Larry M.; Lynch, Jonathan P.;

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Background and AimsSince ancient times in the Americas, maize, bean and squash have been grown together in a polyculture known as the ‘three sisters’. This polyculture and its maize/bean variant have greater yield than component monocultures on a land-equivalent basis. This study shows that below-ground niche complementarity may contribute to this yield advantage.MethodsMonocultures and polycultures of maize, bean and squash were grown in two seasons in field plots differing in nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) availability. Root growth patterns of individual crops and entire polycultures were determined using a modified DNA-based technique to discriminate roots of different species.Key ResultsThe maize/bean/squash and maize/bean polycultures had greater yield and biomass production on a land-equivalent basis than the monocultures. Increased biomass production was largely caused by a complementarity effect rather than a selection effect. The differences in root crown architecture and vertical root distribution among the components of the ‘three sisters’ suggest that these species have different, possibly complementary, nutrient foraging strategies. Maize foraged relatively shallower, common bean explored the vertical soil profile more equally, while the root placement of squash depended on P availability. The density of lateral root branching was significantly greater for all species in the polycultures than in the monocultures.ConclusionsIt is concluded tha
t species differences in root foraging strategies increase total soil exploration, with consequent positive effects on the growth and yield of these ancient polycultures.
From the journal
Annals of botany
ISSN : 0305-7364

Bibliographic information

Language:
English
Type:
Journal Article
In AGRIS since:
2015
Volume:
114
Issue:
8
Start Page:
1719
End Page:
1733
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
All titles:
"Root foraging elicits niche complementarity-dependent yield advantage in the ancient ‘three sisters’ (maize/bean/squash) polyculture"@eng
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Bibliographic information

Language:
English
Type:
Journal Article
In AGRIS since:
2015
Volume:
114
Issue:
8
Start Page:
1719
End Page:
1733
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
All titles:
"Root foraging elicits niche complementarity-dependent yield advantage in the ancient ‘three sisters’ (maize/bean/squash) polyculture"@eng