Legume reaction to soil acidity
Most legumes grow and develop better in neutral soils, with the exception of lupine, which grows at pH 4.0–5.0. Red clover secretes hydrogen ions into the soil through its roots, changing soil pH. Legume root nodules form better at pH 6.5–7.0, and at pH values less than 3, the root cells’ cytoplasm breaks down. At pH 8.7, the plants are deficient in NO3-, phosphates, iron, manganese, copper, and zinc. In acidic soils, an excess of aluminium inhibits the uptake of phosphorus, calcium, potassium, iron, sodium, and boron by root cells. Legumes are sensitive to the concentration of aluminium ions in the soil. In aluminium-sensitive pea varieties, nutrient absorption is suppressed; lectin, hemicellulose, and cellulose synthesis is inhibited in root cell walls; membrane water permeability decreases; the number of SH groups in cells decreases; and enzyme activity is inhibited. In an acidic medium, clover growth is inhibited, nodules form poorly, and nitrogen fixation rate decreases. The higher the acidity, the harder it is to assimilate soil magnesium. Magnesium deficiency leads to reduced photosynthesis and decreased sugar transport to roots and nodules. As a result, nitrogen fixation stops, and the plant’s leaves turn yellow and fall off. For legumes, the Ca:Mg ratio is important. The combined application of calcium and magnesium increases plant biomass yield, reduces nodule formation in lupine, and increases it in beans. This difference is related to the fact that beans, clover, and haricot are calciphiles, whereas is calciphobous. The use of waste beet sugar production – defecate, calcium fertilizer, is very effective. Decreased acidity increases leghemoglobin content in nodules, increases nodule weight, and increases nitrogen fixation 3–4 times.
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