Journal Article

Aluminium tolerance and high phosphorus efficiency helps <i>Stylosanthes</i> better adapt to low-P acid soils

Yu-Mei Du, Jiang Tian, Hong Liao, Chang-Jun Bai, Xiao-Long Yan and Guo-Dao Liu

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 103, issue 8, pages 1239-1247
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcp074
Aluminium tolerance and high phosphorus efficiency helps Stylosanthes better adapt to low-P acid soils

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Backgrond and Aims

Stylosanthes spp. (stylo) is one of the most important pasture legumes used in a wide range of agricultural systems on acid soils, where aluminium (Al) toxicity and phosphorus (P) deficiency are two major limiting factors for plant growth. However, physiological mechanisms of stylo adaptation to acid soils are not understood.

Methods

Twelve stylo genotypes were surveyed under field conditions, followed by sand and nutrient solution culture experiments to investigate possible physiological mechanisms of stylo adaptation to low-P acid soils.

Key Results

Stylo genotypes varied substantially in growth and P uptake in low P conditions in the field. Three genotypes contrasting in P efficiency were selected for experiments in nutrient solution and sand culture to examine their Al tolerance and ability to utilize different P sources, including Ca-P, K-P, Al-P, Fe-P and phytate-P. Among the three tested genotypes, the P-efficient genotype ‘TPRC2001-1’ had higher Al tolerance than the P-inefficient genotype ‘Fine-stem’ as indicated by relative tap root length and haematoxylin staining. The three genotypes differed in their ability to utilize different P sources. The P-efficient genotype, ‘TPRC2001-1’, had superior ability to utilize phytate-P.

Conclusions

The findings suggest that possible physiological mechanisms of stylo adaptation to low-P acid soils might involve superior ability of plant roots to tolerate Al toxicity and to utilize organic P and Al-P.

Keywords: Stylosanthes; phosphorus; P efficiency; organic P; Al toxicity; acid soil

Journal Article.  4745 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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