Influence of soil cover and N and K fertilization on the quality of biofortified QPM in the humid tropics

J Sci Food Agric. 2016 Aug;96(11):3807-12. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.7574. Epub 2016 Jan 21.


Background: In the humid tropics, unfavorable conditions present challenges to smallholder farmers attempting to meet food demands. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of alley cropping and addition of potassium and nitrogen on the productivity and nutritional value of quality protein maize (QPM). The experimental design consisted of randomized blocks with four replicates in a 5 × 2 factorial scheme, with five treatments, Gliricidia + Acacia (GA), Gliricidia + Clitoria (GC), Leucaena + Acacia (LA), Leucaena + Clitoria (LC) and bare soil (BS), in two cropping systems, one with addition of nitrogen and potassium (NK) and one without.

Results: The grain yield of LC + NK was significantly higher than that of all other treatments except GC + NK and LA + NK, and six times higher than that of BS + NK. The protein content of LC + NK was higher than that of the treatments without residue.

Conclusion: Although the mulching of tree legumes increased the yield and quality of food for smallholder agriculture, achieving this outcome requires eliminating potentially negative interactions when combining trees and crops in addition to enhancing the availability and uptake of nutrients. © 2015 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: biofortification; food security; nutrients; tree legumes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acacia / growth & development
  • Acacia / metabolism
  • Biofortification*
  • Brazil
  • Clitoria / growth & development
  • Clitoria / metabolism
  • Crop Production / methods*
  • Fabaceae / growth & development*
  • Fabaceae / metabolism
  • Fertilizers*
  • Humans
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary / analysis*
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary / genetics
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary / metabolism
  • Potassium Chloride / metabolism
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Seeds / growth & development*
  • Seeds / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation
  • Urea / metabolism
  • Zea mays / chemistry
  • Zea mays / genetics
  • Zea mays / growth & development*
  • Zea mays / metabolism


  • Fertilizers
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Urea