Some aspect of the logical way of studying dinitrogen fixation in an agroforestry context for improving food production

  • Elijah M. Akunda Crop physiologist, Department of Botany, University of Nairobi, P. O. Box 30197 Nairobi, Kenya.
Keywords: Dinitrogen fixation, agroforestry, biomass, nodulation, experimental methods.


Dinitrogen fixation in an agroforestry context requires a careful approach which initially require derivation of the methods to be used and careful selection of the priorities of factors which influence the process. Nitrogen element is an important component of protein foods, hence its mechanisms of incorporation in biomass and grain through fixation is vital. The methods used to comprehend its incorporation are crucial to food production.

It is suggested that priority of the factors affecting the basic process of dinitrogen fixation, especially light and water, should be taken into consideration. Logically, a quick assessment of a nitrogen fixer versus a non-fixer should be grown near and far then their assessment done with respect to biomass response. Next phase should then involve how appropriate it would be to design spacing in dinitrogen fixation experiments.

Since dinitrogen fixation research is specific, there is need to clearly state the objectives. Observations should start on growth components and characters associated with yield and dinitrogen fixation. Growth, nodulation and dinitrogen fixation should involve looking at the dry matter of the tops of plants, nodule number, position, colour, size, shape and weight. In case some competition stress is observed in the initial stages of the study, then such simple parameters of total leaf area, leaf dry weight, specific leaf area and canopy structure should be studied in the second phase. Having accumulated some knowledge about the performance of the system in the early stages, then analysis of yield discerning processes in relation to canopy structure can then be assessed.

The Journal of Food Technology in Africa Volume 6 Number 2 (April-June 2001), pp. 68-71


Dinitrogen fixation, agroforestry, biomass, nodulation, experimental methods.

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eISSN: 1028-6098