Evaluation of Clitoria ternatea L. in Relation with Fertility in Tropical Soils
N. De la Cruz-Landero,
L.E. Amador-del Angel
The present research was carried out to explore the ability of Clitoria ternatea to incorporate nutrients into soils. There are just few studies about native species in Mexico. Clitoria plays an important ecological role by providing favorable conditions for soil restoration in forest areas after forest fires occurrence. In agriculture, Clitoria species affect soil acidification and nutrient solubilization. Data about the performance of Clitoria species and the characterization of its behavior during the growing cycle and the extraction of some nutrients like Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) is not available. An experiment using a completely randomized design with six replications was conducted under natural conditions in Carmen Island. Results showed that C. ternatea is able to increase the levels of N, P and K in the soil during the period of growth.
Received: November 08, 2010;
Accepted: January 22, 2011;
Published: February 25, 2011
The sustainable management of soils with low natural fertility is a major challenge
for small holder agriculture in tropical rain forest. Due to this it is important
to use tropical species, one of them is Clitoria ternatea. An Asian pea
(Butterfly pea), most likely originating from tropical Asia, Clitoria ternatea
has been widely distributed to many tropical and subtropical countries, where
it has become naturalized to South and Central America, China and India (Gomez
and Kalamani, 2003).
This legume shows good growth in native tropical and subtropical grassland
and scrubs, diverse type of soils, cultivated soils and in fallow land during
the rainy season (Ibeawuchi, 2007).
Cliroria ternatea is a vigorous, strongly persistent herbaceous perennial
legume (stems fine twining, sparsely pubescent, suberect at base, 0.5-3 m long).
Leaves are pinnate with 5 or 7 leaflets; petioles are 1.5-3 cm long; stipules
persistent, narrowly triangular, 1-6 mm long, subulate, prominently 3-nerved;
rachis 1-7 cm long; stipels filiform, to 2 mm long; leaflets elliptic, ovate
or nearly orbicular, 1.5-5 cm long, 0.3-3 cm wide, with apex acute or rounded,
often notched, both surfaces sparsely appressed pubescent. Flowers axillary,
single or paired; color ranges from white, mauve, light blue to dark blue; pedicles
4-9 mm long, twisted through 180° so that the standard is inverted. Bracteoles
are persistent, broadly ovate or rounded, 4-12 mm long. Calyx is 1.7-2.2 cm
long with a few fine hairs; tube campanulate, 0.8-1.2 cm long; lobes triangular
or oblong, 0.7-1 cm long, acute or acuminate. Standard obovate, funnel-shaped,
2-5.5 cm long, 2-4 cm wide, notched or rounded at apex, blue with a pale yellow
base, or entirely white, a few fine hairs at apex. Pods linear-oblong, flattened,
4-13 cm long and 0.8-1.2 cm broad, with margins thickened and style persistent,
sparsely pubescent when mature, pale brown, dehiscent when dry. Seeds 8-11/pod,
oblong, somewhat flattened, 4.5-7 mm long, 3-4 mm wide, C. ternatea is
a vigorous, strongly persistent, herbaceous perennial legume (Morris,
The family that Clitoria belongs, performs an important ecological role
providing favorable conditions to the development of soil organisms; as well
as improving physical and chemical properties of soil (Aguiar
et al., 2010; De Moura et al., 2010).
The potential of legumes to fix nitrogen and increase organic matter in the
soils had not been fully exploited, especially using the land race legumes (Ibeawuchi,
2007; Alderete-Chavez et al., 2009; Brito-Vega
et al., 2009; De la Cruz-Landero et al.,
2010). In conventional cultivation the plants promote soil stability and
modify its structure, low infiltration velocity, soil compactness due to agricultural
machinery passage and higher water loss due to evaporation (Molumeli
et al., 2008).
Sustainable nutrient management includes economizing on finite natural resources
such as fossil energy and limited phosphorus resources. There is a strong need
to design cropping systems which take into consideration the emerging social,
economical and ecological or environmental concerns (Batie
and Ervin, 2001). Arable farms with exclusively crop production are characterized
by large nutrient export in farm products and the continuous use of the same
area reduces nutrient availability and increases the incidence of weeds (Tilman
et al., 2002). In long term, nutrient export from soils and losses
must be balanced by adequate inputs of fertilizers and biological Nitrogen (Oenema
et al., 2004; Wivstad et al., 2005).
In nature, phosphorus flows can be defined as a series of biogeochemical processes
involving both mechanical transfer and physical, chemical and biological transformations
(Shane and Lamberts, 2005; Liu et
The differences in nitrogen and phosphorus absorption in soils with Clitoria
are also related to their capacity to modify the pH in the rhizosphere by means
of exudation rates of organic acid anions. A major difference between plant
species was found in root-surface of acid phosphatase activity (Kamh
et al., 2002; Moura et al., 2009).
This approach would have added value if functionally different vegetation types
defined mainly on the basis of suites of morphological and regenerative traits
were shown to possess characteristic tissue nutrient signatures consistent with
their preferred growing conditions and the type of nutrient limitation faced
(Willby et al., 2001; Alderete-Chavez
et al., 2010). Closely related with the acidification are the transformation
of nutrients between organic and inorganic, given through the fact that inorganic
forms providing food for microorganisms and as well as plants (Gahoonia
and Nielsen, 2004). Following the discovery of dauciform roots, the impact
of varied nitrogen supply on dauciform root formation has been tested as well
as their anatomy. However, there is a lack of information on the physiological
aspects of dauciform root function and development (Playsted
et al., 2006).
The existence of alterations of carbon metabolism within proteoid roots explains
also the amount of acid exuded by plants subjected to phosphorus deficiency
(Zhou et al., 2008). Phosphorus is an essential
nutrient required for plants growth and development, it is intimately involved
in a wide range of physiological and biochemical processes (Richardson,
2009). This investigation explores the potential of Clitoria ternatea
L. to incorporated nitrogen and phosphorus and to improve the fertility in tropical
soil, in Carmen Island, Campeche State, Mexico.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
This experiment was conducted from October 2009 to May 2010. Seeds of C.
ternatea were evaluated to know their potential to be used in field trials.
Seeds with previous treatments of scarification were put in water at 75°C
for 3 min and seed the same day under natural conditions in a experimental field
in Carmen Island, Campeche State, Mexico, N 18°67' 52.1", W 91°74' 33.9"
at altitude of 3 m.a.s.l. The region has a warm and sub humid climate with a
mean precipitation of 1300-1500 mm year-1, the rainy season is from
June to October and the dry season (rain absence), from January to middle of
May. The annual average temperature is 27°C appearing the maximum levels
before the solstice of summer with an average of 28°C being reached an historical
maximum temperature of 43°C; frosts do not appear and as far as hurricanes,
its coast is the one of smaller incidence (Ramos-Miranda
et al., 2009).
The plantation was made in spaced to 80 cm and lots of 6x6, placing the seeds
in the furrow of 2 cm depth during October of 2009, with a density of 9 seeds
per square meter, two irrigations at 10 days intervals were applied. The treatment
arrangement was a completely randomized experimental design with six replications.
Soil samples of 200 g were taken with a clean drill and with a slight inclination
towards the rhizosphere of the plants at the sowing and after 180 days in May
of 2010. The samples were dried in the sifted through a wire mesh 2 mm. The
following properties were determinate in laboratory: Percentage of organic matter
(White and Black), Total Nitrogen by Micro-Kjeldahl, Phosphorus by Bray I and
Potassium by flame photometry.
Statistical analysis: Germination was registered by six replications
per treatment during the experiment. Germination frequencies for the same treatment
were grouped and expressed as percentage. SAS (2003) program
(v. 2003) for personal computers was employed to conduct the ANOVA test (Proc
mixed) and mean comparisons LSD (Less Significant Difference). The treatments
were considered as fixed effects, the blocks as random effects.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Clitoria ternatea showed potential to liberate essential nutrients from
the soil in available forms, usually soil receives micronutrients from atmospheric
deposition irrigation water and phosphate rock fertilizer and farmyard manure,
this situation can improve the growth of plants around the Clitoria
genus, the evaluations were carried out among the evaluation months when the
plants were in the middle of development. The statistical analysis shows that
significant differences exist for OM, N, P and K variables. Organic matter increase
from 6.05 to 9.91%. Nitrogen increase 0.3 to 0.48%; phosphorus increase from
2 to 10.2 mg g-1 and potassium also increase from 0.06 to 0.16 mg
g-1 compared with the controls (Table 1).
Total soil Organic matter (OM) and nitrogenous (N): The initial low
content of OM 6.1% and N 0.3% with a high increase at 180 days amount 60% content
of OM and N in the soil (Table 2). This situation could indicate
that C. ternatea increase its capacity of fixation of atmospheric nitrogen
180 days after planting. Also have a significant influence on soil quality of
The differences in the soils of plant effects can be due to absorption of Nitrogen
and seems to be related to the capacity of the plant to modify pH from the rhizosphere
by means of proton liberation. As a consequence of normal growth and development,
a large range of organic and inorganic substances are exchanged between the
root and soil, which inevitably leads to changes in the biochemical and physical
properties of the rhizosphere. This study found that C. ternatea shows
similar conditions of growth as previous research (De Albuquerque
et al., 2006).
The nutrient increases and changes in soil conditions depend of some factor
like soil temperature, humidity, aeration and low pH which promotes denitrification
(Alderete-Chavez et al., 2009). Nitric oxide
is also produced by denitrification, but its diffusion to the soil surface is
greatly reduced by the low gas diffusivity, usually prevailing during denitrification
episodes. It is thus likely to be reduced to N2 under such anaerobic
conditions C. ternatea shows similar condition (Rolland
et al., 2008). As signaled by Fontaine et al.
(2003) in poor soils this mechanism is more active as the plant grows and
the requirements of N are lower. C. ternatea probably have the positive
impact on soil fertility and incorporation of the residues from grain legumes
supports to maintain soil N levels. Deposition of N by the cover crop will gradually
increase the level of soil N and thus reduce the proportion of plant biomass
derived from N2 fixation of according with Jensen
and Hauggaard-Nielsen (2003) and Sanginga (2003).
Total soil phosphorus (P) and potassium (K): The initial concentration
of P in the soil is 2 mg kg-1. Changes in until 10.2 mg kg-1
is in agreement with George et al. (2008), the
behavior of the amount of P with a high increase at 180 days amount to 10.2
mg kg-1 (Table 2). The results observed were differentiated
between the experimental (C. ternatea) and the natural soil due to the
large range in the initial concentrations of potentially available P.
||ANOVA for Organic Matter (OM), nitrogenous (N), phosphorus
(P) and potassium (K)
|*Significant difference at p = 0.0001
|| Effects of C. ternatea plants in the increase of nutrients
in the soil
This effect is of particular relevance for representing a substantial increment
in the content of P in the soils; phosphorus deficiency induced metabolic changes
related to exudation of carboxylic acids and protons in roots.
The significant increases of the phosphorus concentration, can be due to the
mechanisms of liberation of phosphorus by C. ternatea and is similar
to the results of Ye et al. (2006) that found
the differences in the absorption of phosphorus could be related to two main
mechanisms: (1) plants capacity to modify the pH of the rhizosphere by
means of proton liberation which causes soil acidification, the principal factor
driving P liberation was acidity. The concentration of (H+) ions
increased rapidly in the systems where microorganisms were present. (2) Hydrolysis
of organic phosphorus is mediated by the activity of the ectoenzyme acid phosphatase
released by bacteria and fungi and secreted by the roots particularly in tip
or apex zones (Baluska et al., 2010).
The activity of the acid phosphatase has been demonstrated in the rhizosphere
of plants cultivated in soils with low levels of phosphorus (Sas
et al., 2003). The results obtained in this research agree with those
with Cajanus, Chamaecrista (Kamh et al.,
2002) L. consentinni and L. angustifolius and particularly
with L. albus, which has allowed researchers to fully understand the
solubilization and mobilization capacity of phosphorus from non-usable sources
by other crops (Derry et al., 2005; Playsted
et al., 2006).
This study showed that potassium has an initial value of 0.06 cmol kg-1
low of the limits of critical value for numerous crops (0.15-0.30 cmol kg-1)
(Table 2). These values suggested the capacity of the fixation
of quality K of the ground is limiting worked grounds; as well as the values
suggest that the soil quality K fixing capacity is limiting the cultivated soils
(Masto et al., 2006; Schneider,
2005). In this research, C. ternatea increased the amount of potassium
(Kehlenbeck and Maass, 2003), in more than 100% of the
initial content in the soil. This represents a high increase to the soil reservoir
Clitoria ternatea plants are able to increase the levels of OM, N, P
and K in soils during its period of growth with higher increase at 180 days
after planting. The results of this study reflected a tendency of the species
evaluated to improve the mineral nutrients in the soil during the period of
growth of C. ternatea. However, only in the case of K the amount of this
nutrient was higher than the initial amount at the end of the growing period.
It is advisable, to continue carrying out this type of studies for a better
understanding of the temporal availability of nutrients in the different seasonal
phenology periods of C. ternatea. Successful establishment and growth
of plantations improve the fertility of soil. But depend largely on correct
species selection and soil-working methods. Thus correctly perceive the role
of C. ternatea in enhancing of soil fertility because of its ability
to transform atmospheric N2, which can be used by species different
Special thanks To the National Science and Technology Council (CONACyT) for
financing project FORDECyT No. 137942 and thanks to PROMEP for financing project
PROMEP/103.5/09/416, without financing the development of this research would
not be possible. DES: DACNAT: Autonomous University of Carmen by the granted
facilities to carry out this work.
1: Aguiar, A.D.C.F., S.J. Bicudo, J.R.S.C. Sobrinho, A.L.S. Martins, K.P. Coelho and E.G. De Moura, 2010. Nutrient recycling and physical indicators of an alley cropping system in a sandy loam soil in the pre-Amazon region of Brazil. Nutr. Cycling Agroecosyst., 86: 189-198.
2: Alderete-Chavez, A., V.E. Hernandez, N.D.L. Cruz-Landero, E.O. Trejo and H.B. Vega, 2009. Evaluation of two Lupinus species native from central Mexico in relation with solubilization of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in an andosol. J. Applied Sci., 9: 1583-1587.
CrossRef | Direct Link |
3: Alderete-Chavez, A., L. Aguilar-Marin, N. De la Cruz-Landero, J.J. Guerra-Santos, R. Brito, E. Guevara and R. Gelabert, 2010. Effects of scarification chemical treatments on the germination of Crotalaria retusa L. seeds. J. Biol. Sci., 10: 541-544.
CrossRef | Direct Link |
4: Baluska, F., S. Mancuso, D. Volkmann and P.W. Barlow, 2010. Root apex transition zone: A signalling-response nexus in the root. Trends Plant Sci., 15: 402-408.
5: Batie, S.S. and D.E. Ervin, 2001. Transgenic crops and the environment: Missing markets and public roles. Environ. Dev. Econ., 6: 435-457.
6: Brito-Vega, H., E.V. David, F. Carlos, M. Daniel, L. Nancy De la Cruz and A.C. Angel, 2009. Soil organic matter particle and presence of earthworm under different tillage systems. J. Biol. Sci., 9: 180-183.
CrossRef | Direct Link |
7: De Albuquerque, J.P., F.F. da Mota, I. von der Weid and L. Seldin, 2006. Diversity of Paenibacillus durus strains isolated from soil and different plant rhizospheres evaluated by ARDRA and gyrB-RFLP analysis. Eur. J. Soil Biol., 42: 200-207.
8: De la Cruz-Landero, N., V.E. Hernandez, E. Guevara, M.A. Lopez-Lopez, A.T. Santos, E. Ojeda-Trejo and A. Alderete-Chavez, 2010. Lupinus versicolor response in soils contaminated with heavy metals from a petroleum extraction field. J. Applied Sci., 10: 694-698.
CrossRef | Direct Link |
9: De Moura, E.G., S.S. Serpa, J.G.D. Dos Santos, J.R.S.C. Sobrinho and A.D.C.F. Aguiar, 2010. Nutrient use efficiency in alley cropping systems in the Amazonian periphery. Plant Soil, 335: 363-371.
10: Derry, D.D., R.P. Voroney and J.U.A. Briceno, 2005. Long-term effects of short-fallow Frijol tapado on soil phosphorus pools in Costa Rica. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ., 110: 91-103.
11: Fontaine, S., A. Mariotti and L. Abbadie, 2003. The priming effect of organic matter: A question of microbial competition. Soil Biol. Biochem., 35: 837-843.
12: Gahoonia, S.T. and N.E. Nielsen, 2004. Root traits as tools for creating phosphorus efficient crop varieties. Plant Soil, 260: 47-50.
13: George, T.S., P.J. Gregory, P. Hocking and A.E. Richardson, 2008. Variation in root-associated phosphatase activities in wheat contributes to the utilization of organic P substrates in vitro, but does not explain differences in the P-nutrition of plants when grown in soils. Environ. Exp. Bot., 64: 239-249.
14: Gomez, S.M. and A. Kalamani, 2003. Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea): A nutritive multipurpose forage legume for the tropics: An over view. Pak. J. Nutr., 2: 374-379.
15: Ibeawuchi, I.I., 2007. Landrace legumes: Synopsis of the culture, importance, potentials and roles in agricultural production systems. J. Boil. Sci., 7: 464-474.
CrossRef | Direct Link |
16: Jensen, E.S. and H. Hauggaard-Nielsen, 2003. How can increased use of biological N2 fixation in agriculture benefit the environment. Plant Soil, 252: 177-186.
17: Kamh, M., M. Abdou, V. Chude, F. Wiesler and W.J. Horst, 2002. Mobilization of phosphorus contributes to positive rotational effects of leguminous cover crops on maize grown on soils from Northern Nigeria. J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci., 165: 566-572.
18: Kehlenbeck, K. and B.L. Maass, 2003. Crop diversity and classification of homegardens in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Agrofor. Syst., 63: 53-62.
19: Liu, Y., G. Villalba, R.U. Ayres and H. Schroder, 2008. Global Phosphorus flows and environmental impacts from a consumption perspective. J. Ind. Ecol., 12: 229-247.
20: Masto, R.E., P.K. Chhonkar, D. Singh and A.K. Patra, 2006. Soil quality response to long-term nutrient and crop management on a semi-arid Inceptisol. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ., 118: 130-142.
21: Morris, J.B., 2009. Characterization of butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea L.) accessions for morphology, phenology, reproduction and potential nutraceutical, pharmaceutical trait utilization. Genet. Resour. Crop Evol., 56: 421-427.
22: Moura, E.G., N.G. Moura, E.S. Marques, K.M. Pinheiro, J.R.S. Costa Sobrino and A.C.F. Aguiar, 2009. Evaluating chemical and physical quality indicators for a structurally fragile tropical soil. Soil Use Manage., 25: 368-375.
23: Molumeli, P.A., V.E. Hernandez, M. Ehsan, S.B. Valdez and E.O. Trejo et al., 2008. Lupines-invaded pine forest and cultivated scrublands in volcanic ash soils in mexico dry-sieved aggregation and macroaggregate instability indices. Int. J. Bot., 8: 390-405.
CrossRef | Direct Link |
24: Oenema, O., L.V. Lowie and O. Schoumans, 2004. Effects of lowering nitrogen and phosphorus surpluses in agriculture on the quality of groundwater and surface water in the Netherlands. J. Hydrol., 304: 289-301.
25: Playsted, C.W., M.E. Johnston, C.M. Ramage, D.G. Edwards, G.R. Cawthray and H. Lambers, 2006. Functional significance of dauciform roots: Exudation of carboxylates and acid phosphatase under phosphorus deficiency in Caustis blakeim (Cyperaceae). New Phytol., 170: 491-500.
26: Ramos-Miranda, J., K. Bejarano-Hau, D. Flores-Hernandez and L.A. Ayala-Perez, 2009. Growth, mortality, maturity and recruitment of the star drum (Stellifer lanceolatus) in the Southern Gulf of Mexico. Ciencias Marinas, 35: 245-257.
Direct Link |
27: Rolland, M.N., B. Gabrielle, P. Laville, D. Serca and J. Cortinovis et al., 2008. Modeling of nitric oxide emissions from temperate agricultural soils. Nutr. Cycl. Agroecosyst., 80: 75-93.
28: Richardson, A.E., 2009. Regulating the phosphorus nutrition of plants: Molecular, biology meeting agronomic needs. Plant Soil., 322: 17-24.
29: Sanginga, N., 2003. Role of biological nitrogen fixation in legume-based cropping systems; a case study of West Africa farming systems. Plant Soil, 252: 25-39.
30: SAS, 2003. SAS/STAT Users Guide. 8th Edn., Statistical Analysis Institute Inc., Cary North, Carolina
31: Sas, L., H. Marschner, V. Romheld and S. Mercik, 2003. Effect of nitrogen forms on growth and chemical changes in the rhizosphere of strawberry plants. Acta Physiol. Planta., 25: 241-247.
32: Schneider, A., 2005. Release and fixation of potassium by a loamy soil as affected by initial water content and potassium status of soil samples. Eur. J. Soil Sci., 48: 263-271.
33: Tilman, D., K.G. Cassman, P.A. Matson, R. Naylor and S. Polasky, 2002. Agricultural sustainability and intensive production practices. Nature, 418: 671-677.
CrossRef | Direct Link |
34: Willby, N.J., I.D. Pulford and T.H. Flowers, 2001. Tissue nutrient signatures predict herbaceous-wetland community responses to nutrient availability. New Phytol., 152: 463-481.
35: Wivstad, M., A.S. Dahlin and C. Grant, 2005. Perspectives on nutrient management in arable farming systems. Soil Use Manage., 21: 113-121.
36: Ye, H.P., F.Z. Chen, Y.Q. Sheng, G.Y. Sheng and J.M. Fu, 2006. Suppression of phosphate liberation from eutrophic Lakev sediment by using fly ash and ordinary Portland Cement. J. Environ. Sci. Health A Tox. Hazard. Subst. Environ. Eng., 41: 1655-1666.
37: Zhou, Z., M. Yamagishi, M. Osaki and K. Masuda, 2008. Sugar signalling mediates cluster root formation and phosphorus starvation-induced gene expression in white lupin. J. Exp. Bot., 59: 2749-2756.
38: Shane, M.W. and H. Lamberts, 2005. Cluster roots: A curiosity in context. Plant Soil, 274: 101-125.
Direct Link |