, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 227-233

Root nutrient uptake enhances photosynthetic assimilation in prey-deprived carnivorous pitcher plant Nepenthes talangensis

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Abstract

Carnivorous plants grow in nutrient-poor habitats and obtain substantial amount of nitrogen from prey. Specialization toward carnivory may decrease the ability to utilize soil-derived sources of nutrients in some species. However, no such information exists for pitcher plants of the genus Nepenthes, nor the effect of nutrient uptake via the roots on photosynthesis in carnivorous plants is known. The principal aim of present study was to investigate, whether improved soil nutrient status increases photosynthetic efficiency in prey-deprived pitcher plant Nepenthes talangensis. Gas exchange and chlorophyll (Chl) fluorescence were measured simultaneously and were correlated with Chl and nitrogen concentration as well as with stable carbon isotope abundance (δ13C) in control and fertilized N. talangensis plants. Net photosynthetic rate (P N) and maximum- (Fv/Fm) and effective quantum yield of photosystem II (ΦPSII) were greater in the plants supplied with nutrients. Biomass, leaf nitrogen, and Chl (a+b) also increased in fertilized plants. In contrast, δ13C did not differ significantly between treatments indicating that intercellular concentration of CO2 did not change. We can conclude that increased root nutrient uptake enhanced photosynthetic efficiency in prey-deprived N. talangensis plants. Thus, the roots of Nepenthes plants are functional and can obtain a substantial amount of nitrogen from the soil.