2012 Volume 27 Issue 3 Pages 257-262
There are increasing applications of diazotrophic rhizobacteria in the sustainable agriculture system. A field experiment on young immature oil palm was conducted to quantify the uptake of N derived from N2 fixation by the diazotroph Bacillus sphaericus strain UPMB-10, using the 15N isotope dilution method. Eight months after 15N application, young immature oil palms that received 67% of standard N fertilizer application together with B. sphaericus inoculation had significantly lower 15N enrichment than uninoculated palms that received similar N fertilizers. The dilution of labeled N served as a marker for the occurrence of biological N2 fixation. The proportion of N uptake that was derived from the atmosphere was estimated as 63% on the whole plant basis. The inoculation process increased the N and dry matter yields of the palm leaflets and rachis significantly. Field planting of young, immature oil palm in soil inoculated with B. sphaericus UPMB-10 might mitigate inorganic fertilizer-N application through supplementation by biological nitrogen fixation. This could be a new and important source of nitrogen biofertilizer in the early phase of oil palm cultivation in the field.