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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Nutrient uptake, allocation and biochemical changes in two Chinese fir cuttings under heterogeneous phosphorus supply

Farooq, Taimoor Hassan; Tigabu, Mulualem; Ma, Xiangqing; Zou, Xianhua; Liu, Aiqin; Oden, Per Christer; Wu, Pengfei


Plant-available nutrients in soils are usually distributed in a heterogeneous or patchy manner. Plant responses to low levels of phosphorous (P) are not uniform across and within species. In this study, we examined the adaptive role of physiological plasticity (increased rate of nutrient uptake in localized zones) to the heterogeneous distribution of P in the soil, and whether low P stress transcends to the shoot and triggers similar biochemical changes that enhance tolerance. Two Chinese fir clones with high P efficiency (M1, which is tolerant to low P, and M4 which is able to decouple fixed P) were chosen as the research materials and their physiological responses to low P stress were examined using a sand culture experiment. For both clones, there was no significant difference in nutrient concentration between P-replete and P-deficient patches. Heterogeneous P supply did not affect the allocation of nutrients to the above-ground parts of the plants. The activity of acid phosphatase (APase) and malondialdehyde (MDA) content increased initially but declined with increasing duration of stress, while the content of soluble protein and total chlorophyll contents remained unaffected by the heterogeneous P supply. We conclude that physiological plasticity plays no role in adaptation to low P stress in these clones, while the changes in APase activity and MDA content in needles suggest functional metabolic processes are involved in enhancing P-efficiency in these clones.


Chinese Fir; Physiological Plasticity; Low Phosphorus Stress; Acid Phosphatase Activity; Nutrient Accumulation

Published in

2018, Volume: 11, pages: 411-417