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Role of organic anions and phosphatase enzymes in phosphorus acquisition in the rhizosphere of legumes and grasses grown in a low phosphorus pasture soil

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posted on 2024-06-21, 03:50 authored by Driss Touhami, Rich McDowellRich McDowell, Leo Condron
Rhizosphere processes play a critical role in phosphorus (P) acquisition by plants and microbes, especially under P-limited conditions. Here, we investigated the impacts of nutrient addition and plant species on plant growth, rhizosphere processes, and soil P dynamics. In a glasshouse experiment, blue lupin (Lupinus angustifolius), white clover (Trifolium repens L.), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were grown in a low-P pasture soil for 8 weeks with and without the single and combined addition of P (33 mg kg‚àí1) and nitrogen (200 mg kg‚àí1). Phosphorus addition increased plant biomass and total P content across plant species, as well as microbial biomass P in white clover and ryegrass. Alkaline phosphatase activity was higher for blue lupin. Legumes showed higher concentrations of organic anions compared to grasses. After P addition, the concentrations of organic anions increased by 11-,10-, 5-, and 2-fold in the rhizospheres of blue lupin, white clover, wheat, and ryegrass, respectively. Despite the differences in their chemical availability (as assessed by P fractionation), moderately labile inorganic P and stable organic P were the most depleted fractions by the four plant species. Inorganic P fractions were depleted similarly between the four plant species, while blue lupin exhibited a strong depletion of stable organic P. Our findings suggest that organic anions were not related to the acquisition of inorganic P for legumes and grasses. At the same time, alkaline phosphatase activity was associated with the mobilization of stable organic P for blue lupin.


Funded by the New Zealand Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment's Our Land and Water National Science Challenge (Toitū te Whenua, Toiora te Wai) as part of project Phosphorus Best Practice


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