Plant and Soil

, Volume 312, Issue 1–2, pp 117–128

Phosphorus acquisition characteristics of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) under P deficient conditions

Regular Article


A rhizobox experiment was conducted to examine the P acquisition characteristics of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) under P-deficient conditions. We aimed to identify whether cotton is physiologically efficient at acquiring P through release of protons, phosphatases or carboxylates. Plants were pre-grown in the upper compartment of rhizoboxes filled with a sand and soil mixture to create a dense root mat against a 53 μm polyester mesh. For each species, two P treatments (0 and 20 mg P kg−1) were applied to the upper compartment in order to create P-deficient and P-sufficient plants. At harvest, the upper compartment with intact plants was used for collection of root exudates while the lower soil compartment was sliced into thin layers (1 mm) parallel to the rhizoplane. Noticeable carboxylates release was only detected for white lupin. All P-deficient plants showed a capacity to acidify their rhizosphere soil to a distance of 3 mm. The activity of acid phosphatase was significantly enhanced in the soil-root interfaces of P-stressed cotton and wheat. Under P-deficient conditions, the P depletion zone of cotton from the lower soil compartment was narrowest (<2 mm) among the species. Phosphorus fractionation of the rhizosphere soil showed that P utilized by cotton mainly come from NaHCO3–Pi and NaOH–Po pools while wheat and white lupin markedly depleted NaHCO3–Pi and HCl–P pools, and the depletion zone extended to 3 mm. Wheat also depleted NaOH–Po to a significant level irrespective of P supply. The study suggests that acquisition of soil P is enhanced through P mobilization by root exudates for white lupin, and possibly proton release and extensive roots for wheat under P deficiency. In contrast, the P acquisition of cotton was associated with increased activity of phosphatases in rhizosphere soil.


Phosphatase Phosphorus fractionation Rhizosphere Root exudates Species variation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • X. Wang
    • 1
    • 3
  • C. Tang
    • 1
  • C. N. Guppy
    • 2
    • 3
  • P. W. G. Sale
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agriculture ScienceLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia
  2. 2.School of Environmental and Rural ScienceUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  3. 3.Cotton Catchment Communities CRCNarrabriAustralia

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