Plant and Soil

, Volume 176, Issue 1, pp 161–169

The effect of phosphorus on nodule formation and function in the Casuarina-Frankia symbiosis

  • Yun Yang
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00017686

Cite this article as:
Yang, Y. Plant Soil (1995) 176: 161. doi:10.1007/BF00017686


A study was conducted to investigate the effects of phosphorus on nodule formation and function in the Casuarina-Frankia symbiosis. The effects of P on growth and survival of Frankia in the rhizosphere was assessed by examing Frankia growth and survival in flasks of basal nutrient solution. There was no growth in the nutrient solution during the experimental period. However, the viability of Frankia in the nutrient solution without P supply was half that of the initial level, whereas, with P supply, there was only a minor decline during the first week. In a growth pouch experiment, supplying P increased plant and nodule growth, irrespective of P status of the inoculant Frankia culture. There were no effects of P status on any growth or nodulation parameters measured when the inoculants had been standardized on the basis of viability. In a split root experiment, Frankia inoculation and application of P together or separately did not cause any significant difference. This suggests that growth and nodulation respond only to total P supply. Increasing P from 0.1 to 10 μM significantly increased plant growth but not N concentrations. Both nitrogen-fixation and nitrate supported growth were strongly increased as P increased from 0.1 to 1.0 μM. This study indicates that P deficiency limits the growth of host plants more severely than nitrogen fixation processes and P deficiency on nodulation and symbiotic nitrogen fixation in Casuarina cunninghamiana operated indirectly via reducing host plant growth.

Key words

Casuarina cunninghamiana Frankia nitrogen fixation nodulation phosphorus 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yun Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Davies laboratoryCSIROTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary and Biomedical SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

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