Using a Chlorophyll Meter to Evaluate the Nitrogen Leaf Content in Flue-Cured Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.)

Fabio Castelli, Renato Contillo
2009 Italian Journal of Agronomy  
In flue-cured tobacco N fertilizer is commonly applied during pre-planting, and very often applied again later as a growth-starter. It is generally held that the efficiency of N-fertilizer use can be improved by evaluating the leaf Nstatus after transplanting and until flowering stage. N use efficiency in this context does not refer merely to the yield but also to the quality, in the meanwhile minimizing the negative effects on the environment. To investigate these aspects, we evaluated the
more » ... city of a Minolta model SPAD-502 chlorophyll meter to estimate the N-status in flue-cured tobacco. The aims was to verify if a relationship exists between SPAD readings and leaf N content, and if a single leaf, in a well defined stalk position, could represent the nitrogen content of the whole plant. During the years 1995 and 1996, a pot experiment was conducted using two flue-cured tobacco varieties. SPAD values, total chlorophyll, total N contents and leaf area were measured throughout the growing season, on each odd leaf stalk position. SPAD values were well-correlated with both total chlorophyll and total N leaf concentration, and the regression coefficients were higher when relationships were calculated on a leaf-area basis. For both relationships, SPAD-total chlorophyll and SPAD-total N, the best fittings were obtained with quadratic equations. One leaf stalk position alone is able to monitor the N-status of the whole plant during the first six weeks after transplanting, without distinction of year and variety effects. The SPAD measurement of one leaf per plant, throughout the vegetative growing season, is therefore a valid tool to test the N-status of the crop in a period when a required N supply is still effective.
doi:10.4081/ija.2009.2.3 fatcat:5dwpqwwwnjhgtoopucgyqnm7ie