, Volume 237, Issue 2, pp 275-286

Further characterization of two QTLs that increase phosphorus uptake of rice ( Oryza sativa L.) under phosphorus deficiency

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Four quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for P uptake were previously identified in a rice population that had been developed from a cross between the indica landrace Kasalath (high P uptake) with the japonica cultivar Nipponbare (low P uptake). For further studies, near isogenic lines (NILs) were developed for a major QTL linked to marker C443 on chromosome 12 and for a minor QTL linked to C498 on chromosome 6. On a highly P-deficient upland soil (aerobic conditions), NIL-C443 had three to four times the P uptake of Nipponbare, whereas the advantage of NIL-C498 was in the range of 60–90%. The superiority of NILs over Nipponbare vanished when grown in the same soil under anaerobic paddy conditions. All genotypes had high P uptake when P was supplied at a rate of 60 kg P ha−1, regardless of soil conditions. These results confirmed the presence of both QTLs and furthermore implied that QTLs affected absorption mechanisms that specifically increased P uptake in a P deficient upland soil.

Additional experiments were conducted to investigate if the effect of QTLs is linked to an increase in root growth or due to more efficient P uptake per unit root size (higher root efficiency). Root size did not differ significantly between genotypes in the plus-P treatment. P deficiency, however, reduced the root surface area of Nipponbare by more than 80% whereas NIL-C443 maintained almost half of its non-stress root surface area. The low root growth of Nipponbare observed under P deficiency was probably the result of insufficient P uptake to sustain plant growth, including root growth. Genotypic differences in the ability to maintain root growth, therefore are likely caused by some mechanism that increases the efficiency of roots to access P forms not readily available. This however, only had an effect in aerobic soil. Potential mechanisms leading to higher P uptake of NILs are discussed.