Journal Article

Downregulation of net phosphorus-uptake capacity is inversely related to leaf phosphorus-resorption proficiency in four species from a phosphorus-impoverished environment

Mariana C. R. de Campos, Stuart J. Pearse, Rafael S. Oliveira and Hans Lambers

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 111, issue 3, pages 445-454
Published in print March 2013 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online January 2013 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcs299
Downregulation of net phosphorus-uptake capacity is inversely related to leaf phosphorus-resorption proficiency in four species from a phosphorus-impoverished environment

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Background and Aims

Previous research has suggested a trade-off between the capacity of plants to downregulate their phosphorus (P) uptake capacity and their efficiency of P resorption from senescent leaves in species from P-impoverished environments.

Methods

To investigate this further, four Australian native species (Banksia attenuata, B. menziesii, Acacia truncata and A. xanthina) were grown in a greenhouse in nutrient solutions at a range of P concentrations [P]. Acacia plants received between 0 and 500 µm P; Banksia plants received between 0 and 10 µm P, to avoid major P-toxicity symptoms in these highly P-sensitive species.

Key Results

For both Acacia species, the net P-uptake rates measured at 10 µm P decreased steadily with increasing P supply during growth. In contrast, in B. attenuata, the net rate of P uptake from a solution with 10 µm P increased linearly with increasing P supply during growth. The P-uptake rate of B. menziesii showed no significant response to P supply in the growing medium. Leaf [P] of the four species supported this finding, with A. truncata and A. xanthina showing an increase up to a saturation value of 19 and 21 mg P g−1 leaf dry mass, respectively (at 500 µm P), whereas B. attenuata and B. menziesii both exhibited a linear increase in leaf [P], reaching 10 and 13 mg P g−1 leaf dry mass, respectively, without approaching a saturation point. The Banksia plants grown at 10 µm P showed mild symptoms of P toxicity, i.e. yellow spots on some leaves and drying and curling of the tips of the leaves. Leaf P-resorption efficiency was 69 % (B. attenuata), 73 % (B. menziesii), 34 % (A. truncata) and 36 % (A. xanthina). The P-resorption proficiency values were 0·08 mg P g−1 leaf dry mass (B. attenuata and B. menziesii), 0·32 mg P g−1 leaf dry mass (A. truncata) and 0·36 mg P g−1 leaf dry mass (A. xanthina). Combining the present results with additional information on P-remobilization efficiency and the capacity to downregulate P-uptake capacity for two other Australian woody species, we found a strong negative correlation between these traits.

Conclusions

It is concluded that species that are adapted to extremely P-impoverished soils, such as many south-western Australian Proteaceae species, have developed extremely high P-resorption efficiencies, but lost their capacity to downregulate their P-uptake mechanisms. The results support the hypothesis that the ability to resorb P from senescing leaves is inversely related to the capacity to downregulate net P uptake, possibly because constitutive synthesis of P transporters is a prerequisite for proficient P remobilization from senescing tissues.

Keywords: Downregulation; nutrient-poor soils; phosphorus toxicity; phosphorus-uptake capacity; Proteaceae; remobilization; resorption; Banksia attenuata; B. menziesii; Acacia truncata; A. xanthina

Journal Article.  6564 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Physiology

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