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Benefits of Intercropping Legumes
with Cereals
Tamer Ibrahim Abdel-Wahab1
*, Sherif Ibrahim Abdel-Wahab1
and Eman Ibra-
him Abdel-Wahab2
1
Crop Intensification Research Department, Field Crops Research Institute, Agricultural
Research Center, Giza, Egypt
2
Research Institute, Agricultural Research Center, Giza, Egypt
Abstract
Reducing use of mineral nitrogen (N) fertilizer is one of the potential ways to reverse land degradation
and ultimately increase the productivity of degrading soils of Egypt. We found that intercropping legume
with cereal species in the same row can increase efficiency of photosynthetic process in legumes and
reduce mineral N fertilizer inputs in cereals. Hence, intercropping culture can maintain agro-ecosystem
without air, soil and water pollution.
Keywords: Intercropping; Ecosystem; Legumes; Cereals; Mineral N fertilization
Introduction
Special attention has been directed towards increasing crop productivity per unit area in
Egypt. There is some legumes such as peanut (Arachis hypogaea L), soybean (Glycine max L)
and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L) are grown in the summer. These legumes lack chlorophylls
in vascular bundle sheath cells, while cereals such as maize (Zea mays L), sorghum (Sorghum
bicolor L) or sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum L) does. These cereals have a higher
photosynthetic rate than legumes, especially under high temperature and light intensity
during summer season. Several studies reported that C4
crops have higher competitive
ability over plants possessing the common C3
carbon fixation pathway under intercropping
conditions (Sayed Galal et al., 1984; El-Habbak, 1985; Sayed Galal and Metwally, 1986; Zohry,
1994; El-Gergawy et al., 1995; El-Douby et al., 1996; Abou-Kresha et al. 1997; Hussein et
al., 2000; Metwally et al., 2003 and 2009; Abdel-Galil et al., 2014; Abdel-Wahab and Abdel-
Rahman, 2016; Hefny et al., 2017; Morsy et al., 2017 and Metwally et al., 2018). [1-19].
Thisisbecausethesecerealslackphoto-respiratorycarbondioxide(CO2
)loss.CO2
isthegas
that plants need for photosynthesis where photosynthesis of these legumes is limited by CO2
.
Certainly, adenosine tri phosphate (ATP) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate
(NADPH) formed in the light reactions of photosynthesis are used to convert CO2
into hexoses
and another organic compound. The cereals use a biochemical pump to concentrate CO2
at
the locations within the leaf where the ribulose 1.5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase
(RUBISCO) enzyme mediates incorporation of CO2
by the Calvin-Benson photosynthetic
cycle. Since CO2
concentrations are already high within the bundle sheath cells, increasing
atmospheric CO2
concentrations above current levels has little direct effect on photosynthetic
rates for these cereals. Accordingly, shading of the cereals can contribute largely in
increase the capacity of the Calvin cycle and the thylakoid reactions to regenerate ribulose
bisphosphate (RuBP) that consumed by RUBISCO in leaves of intercropped legumes under
hot summer season where temperature reaches 40-45 °C. Naturally, legumes have the unique
reaction sequences for CO2
reduction to triose phosphates and the associated reductive
pentose phosphate pathway-all of which must be coordinately regulated to avoid wasteful
futile cycling and to ensure proper allocation of carbon to energy production and synthesis of
starch and sucrose (Figure 1). Consequently, it is possible to say that intercropping legumes
with cereals in the same row could increase the capacity of starch and sucrose synthesis to
consume triose phosphates and regenerate inorganic phosphate for photo-phosphorylation.
Crimson Publishers
Wings to the Research
Mini Review
*Corresponding author: Tamer Ibrahim
Abdel-Wahab, Crop Intensification Re-
search Department, Field Crops Research
Institute, Agricultural Research Center,
Giza, Egypt
Submission: March 01, 2019	
Published: April 16, 2019
Volume 1 - Issue 2
How to cite this article: Tamer I Abdel-
Wahab, Sherif I Abdel-Wahab, Eman I
Abdel-Wahab.. Benefits of Intercropping
Legumes with Cereals. Int J Conf Proc.1(2).
ICP.000510.2019.
Copyright@ Sherif Ibrahim Abdel-Wahab,
This article is distributed under the terms
of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License, which permits
unrestricted use and redistribution
provided that the original author and
source are credited.
1Integrative Journal of Conference Proceedings
2
Int J Conf Proc Copyright © Sherif Ibrahim Abdel-Wahab
ICP.MS.ID.000510. 1(2).2019
At saturating light intensity, moderate temperature (25-30 °C)
and elevated CO2
, the capacity of RuBP regeneration or the photo-
phosphorylation regeneration capacity limits the rate of net CO2
assimilation in C3
plants [18].
On the other hand, the legumes participate with bacteria that
live in their nodules by fixing atmospheric N, chemically reducing it
to a form that can be taken up and used by plants. Under elevated
CO2
conditions, legumes may be able to shunt excess carbon to root
nodules where it can serve as a carbon and energy source for the
bacterial symbionts. Therefore, legumes could be able to exchange
the excess carbon for N and thereby maximizing the benefits of
elevated atmospheric CO2
. Hence, intercropping such legumes with
cereals is the commonest type of intercropping that the presence
of legumes must provide a net N benefit to agro-ecosystem. It is
important to mention that there is two points should be considered
when growing legumes with cereals in the same row to obligate
cereals to take advantage of fixed N by the legumes. The first
point is planting date of the intercrops where the legumes should
be grown three weeks earlier before the cereals that using fixed
N in their metabolic process later. The second point is mineral N
fertilizer rate of cereals through adding two-thirds of recommended
mineral N fertilizer to the cereals for encouraging cereal roots to
more penetrate into soil layers and absorbing more N from the
rhizosphere of intercrops. Particularly, low mineral N fertilizer of
cerealsisenhancingnodulationofadjacentlegumerootsandleading
to promotion of N-fixing bacteria growth nearer to rhizosphere of
cereal roots. Plant growth promoting bacteria especially rhizobia
can play an important role in growth promotion of cereals [3,8].
Accordingly, it is expected that intercropping legumes with cereals
in the same row will minimize mineral N fertilizer rates and in turn
small losses of reactive N to the environment will move nitrate to
ground water or surface waters and emissions of nitrous gases to
the atmosphere.
Conclusion
Intercropping N-fixing crops with cereals in the same row
increased the capacity of starch and sucrose synthesis in cereals
with reducing N leaching and gas emissions.
Figure 1: Schematic complementary interactions between legume and cereal species under intercropping culture.
References
1.	 Abdel-Galil AM, Abdel-Wahab ShI and Abdel-Wahab TI. 2014. Compati-
bility of some maize and soybean varieties for intercropping under san-
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2.	 Abdel-Wahab TI and Abdel-Rahman Rehab A (2016) Response of some
soybean cultivars to low light intensity under different intercropping
patterns with maize. International Journal of Applied Agricultural Sci-
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3.	 Abdel-Wahab ShI, El Sayed WM and El Manzlawy Amal (2016) Influ-
ences of some preceding winter crops and nitrogen fertilizer rates on
yield and quality of intercropped maize with cowpea. American Journal
of Experimental Agriculture 11(6): 1-19.
4.	 Abou-Kresha MA, Zohry AA, Farghly BS (1997) Effect of intercropping
some field crops with sugar cane on yield and its components of plant
cane and third ratton. Mansoura Journal of Agricultural Sciences 22(12):
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5.	 El-Gergawy ASS, Saif M, El-Amari TS, Geddawy IH (1995) Intercropping
soil oil crops with spring planted sugar cane in middle Egypt. Egyptian
Journal of Applied Sciences 10(5): 225-234.
6.	 El-Douby KA, El-Habbak KD, Khalil HE, Attia Zahira M (1996) Effect of
some intercropping patterns on growth and yield of maize and soybean.
Annals of Agricultural Sciences, Moshtohor 34(3): 919-933.
7.	 El-Habbak KD (1985) Studies on competition and intercropping in
maize and soybean. Ph D Thesis, Faculty of Agriculture, Moshtohor, Zag-
azig University, Egypt.
8.	 El-Shamy Moshira A, Abdel-Wahab TI, Abdel-Wahab ShI, Ragheb SB
(2015) Advantages of intercropping soybean with maize under two
maize plant distributions and three mineral nitrogen fertilizer rates. Ad-
vances in Bio Science and Bio Engineering 3(4): 30-48.
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groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L) with maize under different plant densi-
ties in sandy soils. Egyptian Journal of Agronomy 39(1): 9-18.
3
Int J Conf Proc Copyright © Sherif Ibrahim Abdel-Wahab
ICP.MS.ID.000510. 1(2).2019
10.	Hussein Samira MA, Shams SA, El Melegy MA (2002) Effect of some in-
tercropping patterns and foliar application with nutrients mixture on
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1447.
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12.	Metwally AA, Shafik MM, El-Metwally El-MA, Safina SA (2003) Tolerance
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ences, EL Arish, Egypt.
13.	Metwally AA, Shafik MM, El-Habbak KE, Abdel-Wahab ShI (2009) Yield
and land equivalent ratio of intercropped soybean with maize under dif-
ferent intercropping patterns and high population densities. Egyptian
Journal of Agronomy 31(2): 199-222.
14.	Metwally AA, Safina SA, Abdel-Wahab TI, Abdel-Wahab ShI, Hefny YA
(2018) Productivity of soybean varieties under intercropping culture
with corn in Egypt. Soybean Research 16(1&2): 63-77.
15.	Morsy AM, Elwan AM, Eissa Nadia MA (2017) Studies on intercropping
soybean with sugar cane under different nitrogen levels. Egyptian Jour-
nal of Agronomy 39(2): 221-237.
16.	Sayed Galal Jr, Abdalla MMF, Metwally AA (1984) A step forward iden-
tifying other soybean cultivars suitable for intercropping with corn.
World soybean Res Con, Ames, Iowa, US.
17.	Sayed Galal Jr, Metwally AA (1986) Science in practice. In: Proceedings
of the Second Conference in Agronomy, Alexandria University, Egypt 1:
489-503.
18.	Sharkey TD (1985) O2
-insensitive photosynthesis in C3
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rence and a possible explanation. Plant Physiology 78: 71-75.
19.	Zohry AA (1994) Effect of intercropping soybean with sugar cane. Ph D
Thesis, Faculty of Agriculture, Al Azhar University, Egypt.
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Benefits of Intercropping Legumes with Cereals

  • 1. Benefits of Intercropping Legumes with Cereals Tamer Ibrahim Abdel-Wahab1 *, Sherif Ibrahim Abdel-Wahab1 and Eman Ibra- him Abdel-Wahab2 1 Crop Intensification Research Department, Field Crops Research Institute, Agricultural Research Center, Giza, Egypt 2 Research Institute, Agricultural Research Center, Giza, Egypt Abstract Reducing use of mineral nitrogen (N) fertilizer is one of the potential ways to reverse land degradation and ultimately increase the productivity of degrading soils of Egypt. We found that intercropping legume with cereal species in the same row can increase efficiency of photosynthetic process in legumes and reduce mineral N fertilizer inputs in cereals. Hence, intercropping culture can maintain agro-ecosystem without air, soil and water pollution. Keywords: Intercropping; Ecosystem; Legumes; Cereals; Mineral N fertilization Introduction Special attention has been directed towards increasing crop productivity per unit area in Egypt. There is some legumes such as peanut (Arachis hypogaea L), soybean (Glycine max L) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L) are grown in the summer. These legumes lack chlorophylls in vascular bundle sheath cells, while cereals such as maize (Zea mays L), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L) or sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum L) does. These cereals have a higher photosynthetic rate than legumes, especially under high temperature and light intensity during summer season. Several studies reported that C4 crops have higher competitive ability over plants possessing the common C3 carbon fixation pathway under intercropping conditions (Sayed Galal et al., 1984; El-Habbak, 1985; Sayed Galal and Metwally, 1986; Zohry, 1994; El-Gergawy et al., 1995; El-Douby et al., 1996; Abou-Kresha et al. 1997; Hussein et al., 2000; Metwally et al., 2003 and 2009; Abdel-Galil et al., 2014; Abdel-Wahab and Abdel- Rahman, 2016; Hefny et al., 2017; Morsy et al., 2017 and Metwally et al., 2018). [1-19]. Thisisbecausethesecerealslackphoto-respiratorycarbondioxide(CO2 )loss.CO2 isthegas that plants need for photosynthesis where photosynthesis of these legumes is limited by CO2 . Certainly, adenosine tri phosphate (ATP) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) formed in the light reactions of photosynthesis are used to convert CO2 into hexoses and another organic compound. The cereals use a biochemical pump to concentrate CO2 at the locations within the leaf where the ribulose 1.5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RUBISCO) enzyme mediates incorporation of CO2 by the Calvin-Benson photosynthetic cycle. Since CO2 concentrations are already high within the bundle sheath cells, increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations above current levels has little direct effect on photosynthetic rates for these cereals. Accordingly, shading of the cereals can contribute largely in increase the capacity of the Calvin cycle and the thylakoid reactions to regenerate ribulose bisphosphate (RuBP) that consumed by RUBISCO in leaves of intercropped legumes under hot summer season where temperature reaches 40-45 °C. Naturally, legumes have the unique reaction sequences for CO2 reduction to triose phosphates and the associated reductive pentose phosphate pathway-all of which must be coordinately regulated to avoid wasteful futile cycling and to ensure proper allocation of carbon to energy production and synthesis of starch and sucrose (Figure 1). Consequently, it is possible to say that intercropping legumes with cereals in the same row could increase the capacity of starch and sucrose synthesis to consume triose phosphates and regenerate inorganic phosphate for photo-phosphorylation. Crimson Publishers Wings to the Research Mini Review *Corresponding author: Tamer Ibrahim Abdel-Wahab, Crop Intensification Re- search Department, Field Crops Research Institute, Agricultural Research Center, Giza, Egypt Submission: March 01, 2019 Published: April 16, 2019 Volume 1 - Issue 2 How to cite this article: Tamer I Abdel- Wahab, Sherif I Abdel-Wahab, Eman I Abdel-Wahab.. Benefits of Intercropping Legumes with Cereals. Int J Conf Proc.1(2). ICP.000510.2019. Copyright@ Sherif Ibrahim Abdel-Wahab, This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited. 1Integrative Journal of Conference Proceedings
  • 2. 2 Int J Conf Proc Copyright © Sherif Ibrahim Abdel-Wahab ICP.MS.ID.000510. 1(2).2019 At saturating light intensity, moderate temperature (25-30 °C) and elevated CO2 , the capacity of RuBP regeneration or the photo- phosphorylation regeneration capacity limits the rate of net CO2 assimilation in C3 plants [18]. On the other hand, the legumes participate with bacteria that live in their nodules by fixing atmospheric N, chemically reducing it to a form that can be taken up and used by plants. Under elevated CO2 conditions, legumes may be able to shunt excess carbon to root nodules where it can serve as a carbon and energy source for the bacterial symbionts. Therefore, legumes could be able to exchange the excess carbon for N and thereby maximizing the benefits of elevated atmospheric CO2 . Hence, intercropping such legumes with cereals is the commonest type of intercropping that the presence of legumes must provide a net N benefit to agro-ecosystem. It is important to mention that there is two points should be considered when growing legumes with cereals in the same row to obligate cereals to take advantage of fixed N by the legumes. The first point is planting date of the intercrops where the legumes should be grown three weeks earlier before the cereals that using fixed N in their metabolic process later. The second point is mineral N fertilizer rate of cereals through adding two-thirds of recommended mineral N fertilizer to the cereals for encouraging cereal roots to more penetrate into soil layers and absorbing more N from the rhizosphere of intercrops. Particularly, low mineral N fertilizer of cerealsisenhancingnodulationofadjacentlegumerootsandleading to promotion of N-fixing bacteria growth nearer to rhizosphere of cereal roots. Plant growth promoting bacteria especially rhizobia can play an important role in growth promotion of cereals [3,8]. Accordingly, it is expected that intercropping legumes with cereals in the same row will minimize mineral N fertilizer rates and in turn small losses of reactive N to the environment will move nitrate to ground water or surface waters and emissions of nitrous gases to the atmosphere. Conclusion Intercropping N-fixing crops with cereals in the same row increased the capacity of starch and sucrose synthesis in cereals with reducing N leaching and gas emissions. Figure 1: Schematic complementary interactions between legume and cereal species under intercropping culture. References 1. Abdel-Galil AM, Abdel-Wahab ShI and Abdel-Wahab TI. 2014. Compati- bility of some maize and soybean varieties for intercropping under san- dy soil conditions. Proceeding of International Soybean Research Con- ference, 22 – 24 February 2014, India. 2. Abdel-Wahab TI and Abdel-Rahman Rehab A (2016) Response of some soybean cultivars to low light intensity under different intercropping patterns with maize. International Journal of Applied Agricultural Sci- ences 2(2): 21-31. 3. Abdel-Wahab ShI, El Sayed WM and El Manzlawy Amal (2016) Influ- ences of some preceding winter crops and nitrogen fertilizer rates on yield and quality of intercropped maize with cowpea. American Journal of Experimental Agriculture 11(6): 1-19. 4. Abou-Kresha MA, Zohry AA, Farghly BS (1997) Effect of intercropping some field crops with sugar cane on yield and its components of plant cane and third ratton. Mansoura Journal of Agricultural Sciences 22(12): 41-63. 5. El-Gergawy ASS, Saif M, El-Amari TS, Geddawy IH (1995) Intercropping soil oil crops with spring planted sugar cane in middle Egypt. Egyptian Journal of Applied Sciences 10(5): 225-234. 6. El-Douby KA, El-Habbak KD, Khalil HE, Attia Zahira M (1996) Effect of some intercropping patterns on growth and yield of maize and soybean. Annals of Agricultural Sciences, Moshtohor 34(3): 919-933. 7. El-Habbak KD (1985) Studies on competition and intercropping in maize and soybean. Ph D Thesis, Faculty of Agriculture, Moshtohor, Zag- azig University, Egypt. 8. El-Shamy Moshira A, Abdel-Wahab TI, Abdel-Wahab ShI, Ragheb SB (2015) Advantages of intercropping soybean with maize under two maize plant distributions and three mineral nitrogen fertilizer rates. Ad- vances in Bio Science and Bio Engineering 3(4): 30-48. 9. Hefny YA, Safina SA, Sheha AM (2017) Evaluation of intercropping groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L) with maize under different plant densi- ties in sandy soils. Egyptian Journal of Agronomy 39(1): 9-18.
  • 3. 3 Int J Conf Proc Copyright © Sherif Ibrahim Abdel-Wahab ICP.MS.ID.000510. 1(2).2019 10. Hussein Samira MA, Shams SA, El Melegy MA (2002) Effect of some in- tercropping patterns and foliar application with nutrients mixture on yield of maize and peanut. Annals of Agricultural Sciences 40(3): 1427- 1447. 11. Lamlom MM, Abdel-Wahab ShI, Abdel-Wahab TI and Ibrahim MAA (2018) Crop interference effects of some winter and summer field crops on Egyptian cotton characters. Advances in Crop Science and Technolo- gy 6(5): 394. 12. Metwally AA, Shafik MM, El-Metwally El-MA, Safina SA (2003) Tolerance of some soybean varieties to intercropping. Proceedings of 10th Confer- ence of Agronomy, Suez Canal University, Faculty of Environmental Sci- ences, EL Arish, Egypt. 13. Metwally AA, Shafik MM, El-Habbak KE, Abdel-Wahab ShI (2009) Yield and land equivalent ratio of intercropped soybean with maize under dif- ferent intercropping patterns and high population densities. Egyptian Journal of Agronomy 31(2): 199-222. 14. Metwally AA, Safina SA, Abdel-Wahab TI, Abdel-Wahab ShI, Hefny YA (2018) Productivity of soybean varieties under intercropping culture with corn in Egypt. Soybean Research 16(1&2): 63-77. 15. Morsy AM, Elwan AM, Eissa Nadia MA (2017) Studies on intercropping soybean with sugar cane under different nitrogen levels. Egyptian Jour- nal of Agronomy 39(2): 221-237. 16. Sayed Galal Jr, Abdalla MMF, Metwally AA (1984) A step forward iden- tifying other soybean cultivars suitable for intercropping with corn. World soybean Res Con, Ames, Iowa, US. 17. Sayed Galal Jr, Metwally AA (1986) Science in practice. In: Proceedings of the Second Conference in Agronomy, Alexandria University, Egypt 1: 489-503. 18. Sharkey TD (1985) O2 -insensitive photosynthesis in C3  plants its occur- rence and a possible explanation. Plant Physiology 78: 71-75. 19. Zohry AA (1994) Effect of intercropping soybean with sugar cane. Ph D Thesis, Faculty of Agriculture, Al Azhar University, Egypt. For possible submissions Click below: Submit Article