Sugar beet profits from intercropping with wheat both under optimum and deficient phosphorus supply



An experiment was conducted with wheat and sugar beet as monocrop and intercrop under low or adequate phosphorus supply. Dry matter production of shoot and roots were decreased in wheat while increased in sugar beet under intercrop conditions. Photosynthesis rate was diminished under intercrop conditions in wheat while elevated in sugar beet concomitant with reduction of transpiration rate and higher water use efficiency in the latter species. Phosphorus, potassium and iron contents were also lower in intercrop wheat while increased in sugar beet. The same effect of intercropping on biomass and nutrients uptake was observed in the short term hydroponic experiment. Interestingly, three root parameters including length, soluble carbohydrates and activity of secretory acid phosphatase that are characteristics for phosphorus-deficient plants were enhanced in both species by intercropping irrespective the phosphorus supply level. These data suggested an interspecific interaction beyond the different nutrient acquisition capacity in the intercrop pots.


intercrop; monocrop; sugar beet; wheat; phosphorus deficiency; acid phosphatase

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