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Subsoil rhizosphere modification by chickpea under a dry topsoil: implications for phosphorus acquisition

Kabir, M.E., Johansen, C. and Bell, R.W. (2015) Subsoil rhizosphere modification by chickpea under a dry topsoil: implications for phosphorus acquisition. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 178 (6). pp. 904-913.

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Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) roots exude carboxylates. While chickpea commonly grows where the topsoil dries out during crop growth, the importance of carboxylate exudation by the roots and mobilization of soil P from below the dry topsoil has not been examined. The study investigates the response of carboxylate exudation and soil P mobilization by this crop to subsoil P fertilizer rate. In constructed soil columns in the glasshouse, the P levels (high, low, and nil P) were varied in the well-watered subsoil (10-30 cm), while a low level of P in the dry topsoil (0-10 cm) was maintained. At flowering, rhizosphere carboxylates and rhizosphere soil from topsoil and subsoil roots were collected separately and analyzed. The concentration of total carboxylates per unit rhizosphere mass in the subsoil was nearly double that of the topsoil. Plants depleted sparingly soluble inorganic P (Pi), NaOH-Pi, and HCl-Pi, along with the labile Pi (water soluble and NaHCO3-Pi). The P depletion by plants was greater from the subsoil than the topsoil. The study concluded that depletion of sparingly soluble P from the chickpea rhizosphere in the subsoil was linked with the greater levels of carboxylates in the rhizosphere. These findings indicate that chickpea, with its deep rooting pattern, can increase its access to subsoil P when the topsoil dries out during crop growth by subsoil rhizosphere modification.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Research Centres and Institutes
Publisher: WILEY-VCH Verlag
Copyright: © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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