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Plant and Soil

, Volume 178, Issue 2, pp 185–192 | Cite as

Nutrient inflow and root proliferation during the exploitation of a temporally and spatially discrete source of nitrogen in soil

  • M. M. I. van Vuuren
  • D. Robinson
  • B. S. Griffiths
Research Article

Abstract

To obtain nutrients mineralised from organic matter in the soil, plants have to respond to its heterogeneous distribution. We measured the timing of nitrogen uptake by wheat from a localised, 15N labelled organic residue in soil, as well as the timing of changes in root length density. We calculated the rates of N uptake per unit root length (inflows) for roots growing through the residue and for the whole root system. A stimulated local inflow appeared to be the main mechanism of exploitation of the residue N during the first five days of exploitation. 8% of the N that the plants would ultimately obtain from the residue was captured in this period. Roots then proliferated in the residue. This, together with a rapidly declining N inflow, contributed to the capture, over the next seven days, of 63% of the N that the plants derived from the residue. After that time, massive root proliferation occurred in the residue, but relatively little further N was captured.

Key words

ammonium heterogeneity inflow localised nutrient mineralisation 15nitrate organic residue proliferation roots soil uptake wheat 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. M. I. van Vuuren
    • 1
  • D. Robinson
    • 1
  • B. S. Griffiths
    • 1
  1. 1.Cellular and Environmental Physiology DepartmentScottish Crop Research InstituteDundeeUK

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