Friday, May 29, 2009

Does Sago palm respond to nitrogen application?

Sago palm (Metroxylon sagu Rottb.) is widely found in the tropical lowland forest and freshwater swamps across Southeast Asia and New Guinea. Sago, the starch extracted from the pith of sago palm stems, is a staple food for the lowland peoples of Papua New Guinea and the Moluccas (

In recent years, the plant has received increased scientific interest as new uses for sago starch like in the manufacture of alcohol, citric acid, bio-ethanol and biodegradable plastics are being explored. One important research issue is on how to increase sago production since, like most wild plants, the mineral nutrition of sago palm is still poorly understood. Little scientific information is also available about its response to fertilizer application.

In a new study published in the international journal Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Lina and co-workers (Lina et al. 2009) found that N uptake of sago palm increased significantly but inconsistently with increasing N application. The few significant increases in N uptake that were observed did not translate into significant improvements in the growth parameters of sago plant, except for the number of leaflets in the pot experiment. No significant difference was likewise observed between the fertilizer use efficiency at the two fertilization rates (50 and 100 N kg ha-1) for either sago seedling or 2-year-old sago plants.

The study demonstrated that sago palm did take up N from the added fertilizer at low rates. Moreover, it showed that the growth parameters of sago plant are not sensitive to N application suggesting that the form of N and the timing of N fertilization are important factors for sago production.

Lina Suzette B., Okazaki M, Kimura DS, Yonebayachi K, Igura M, Quevedo MA, and Loreto AB. 2009. Nitrogen uptake by sago palm (Metroxylon sagu Rottb.) in the early growth stages. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 55: 114-123.


Santoso said...

I'm from Indonesia. Do you have information if sago responds to P application? Thanks.

Victor B. Asio said...

Thanks for your comment. Please contact the major author of the paper (Dr. S. Lina). You can find her email address in the paper itself (Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 55: 114-123).