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Wheat and white lupin differ in root proliferation and phosphorus use efficiency under heterogeneous soil P supply

Ma, Q., Rengel, Z. and Siddique, K.H.M. (2011) Wheat and white lupin differ in root proliferation and phosphorus use efficiency under heterogeneous soil P supply. Crop and Pasture Science, 62 (6). pp. 467-473.

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Heterogeneity of soil nutrients, particularly phosphorus (P), is widespread in modern agriculture due to increased adoption of no-till farming, but P-use efficiency and related physiological processes in plants grown in soils with variable distribution of nutrients are not well documented. In a glasshouse column experiment, wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) were subjected to 50mg P/kg at 710cm depth (hotspot P) or 5mg P/kg in the whole profile (uniform P), with both treatments receiving the same amount of P. Measurements were made of plant growth, gas exchange, P uptake, and root distribution. Plants with hotspot P supply had more biomass and P content than those with uniform P supply. The ratios of hotspot to uniform P supply for shoot parameters, but not for root parameters, were lower in L. albus than wheat, indicating that L. albus was better able than wheat to acquire and utilise P from low-P soil. Cluster roots in L. albus were enhanced by low shoot P concentration but suppressed by high shoot P concentration. Soil P supply decreased root thickness and the root-to-shoot ratio in wheat but had little effect on L. albus. The formation of cluster roots in low-P soil and greater proliferation and surface area of roots in the localised, P-enriched zone in L. albus than in wheat would increase plant P use in heterogeneous soils. L. albus also used proportionally less assimilated carbon than wheat for root growth in response to soil P deficiency. The comparative advantage of each strategy by wheat and L. albus for P-use efficiency under heterogeneous P supply may depend on the levels of P in the enriched v. low-P portions of the root-zone and other soil constraints such as water, nitrogen, or potassium supply.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © 2011 CSIRO
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