Soybean is an important crop for human food and feed for livestock. World soybean production is increasing especially in North and South America. Soybean seeds contain a high percentage of protein about 35–40%, and they require a large amount of nitrogen compared with other crops. Soybean plants make root nodules with rhizobia, and rhizobia can fix atmospheric N2 and give the fixed N to the host soybean plants. Also, soybean can absorb nitrogen usually nitrate from soil or fertilizers. The amount of total assimilated nitrogen in shoot is proportional to the soybean seed yield either from nitrogen fixation or from nitrogen absorption, and the nitrogen availability is very important for soybean cultivation. Maintenance of a high and long-term nitrogen fixation activity is very important for a high production of soybean. However, application of chemical nitrogen fertilizers usually depresses nodule formation and nitrogen fixation. Nitrate in direct contact with a nodulated part of roots causes severe inhibition of nodule growth and nitrogen fixation, although a distant part of nodules from nitrate application gives no or little effect. Deep placement of slow-release nitrogen fertilizers, coated urea, or lime nitrogen promoted the growth and seed yield and quality of soybean without depressing nitrogen fixation.
Part of the book: Soybean