Mixed nitrogen nutrition and productivity of wheat grown in hydroponics

J. A. Heberer, F. E. Below

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to study the effects of nitrogen (N) supplied as either mixtures of NO3 and NH4 or as all NO3 on the final yield of spring wheat. Two separate greenhouse experiments evaluated the durum spring wheat (Triticum durum L.) cultivar 'Inbar' in 1986, and the hard red spring wheat (Triticum aestmum L.) cultivar 'Len' in 1987. Nitrogen treatments consisted of all NO, or mixtures (75/25 or 50/50) of NO3 and NH4. At maturity, plants were harvested, separated into leaves, stems, roots, and grain, and each part analysed for dry matter and chemical compositionCompared to plants receiving only NO3 as the source of N, mixed N nutrition resulted in greater accumulation of whole plant reduced-N (49 to 108% more), phosphorus (38 to 69% more), and potassium (25% more) for both cultivars. In all cases, plants produced higher grain yields (28% for Len to 78% for Inbar) when grown with mixed N nutrition than with only NO3. The yield increase was not associated with heavier grains or more grains per ear, but rather with an increase in the number of ear-bearing tillers per plant. For both cultivars, the higher yields with mixed N resulted from the production of more total biomass (36 to 76%) as the partitioning of dry matter between plant parts was not altered by N treatment. Under the hydroponic conditions of this experiment, the utilization of both NO3 and NH4 resulted in greater growth, nutrient absorption, and yield than NO3 alone, which was primarily associated with an enhancement in tiller development

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-649
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of botany
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1989


  • Ammonium nutrition
  • Hydroponics
  • Nitrate nutrition
  • Partitioning
  • Spring wheat
  • Tillering
  • Triticum aestivum L.
  • Triticum durum L.
  • Yield components

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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