Plant and Soil

, Volume 321, Issue 1–2, pp 305–339 | Cite as

Acquisition of phosphorus and nitrogen in the rhizosphere and plant growth promotion by microorganisms

  • Alan E. RichardsonEmail author
  • José-Miguel Barea
  • Ann M. McNeill
  • Claire Prigent-Combaret
Review Article


The rhizosphere is a complex environment where roots interact with physical, chemical and biological properties of soil. Structural and functional characteristics of roots contribute to rhizosphere processes and both have significant influence on the capacity of roots to acquire nutrients. Roots also interact extensively with soil microorganisms which further impact on plant nutrition either directly, by influencing nutrient availability and uptake, or indirectly through plant (root) growth promotion. In this paper, features of the rhizosphere that are important for nutrient acquisition from soil are reviewed, with specific emphasis on the characteristics of roots that influence the availability and uptake of phosphorus and nitrogen. The interaction of roots with soil microorganisms, in particular with mycorrhizal fungi and non-symbiotic plant growth promoting rhizobacteria, is also considered in relation to nutrient availability and through the mechanisms that are associated with plant growth promotion.


Soil microorganisms PGPR Mycorrhizal fungi Exudate Phosphorus Nitrogen Uptake Mineralization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan E. Richardson
    • 1
    Email author
  • José-Miguel Barea
    • 2
  • Ann M. McNeill
    • 3
  • Claire Prigent-Combaret
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.CSIRO Plant IndustryCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Departamento de Microbiología del Suelo y Sistemas Simbióticos, Estación Experimental del ZaidínCSICGranadaSpain
  3. 3.University of Adelaide, Soil and Land SystemsAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Université de LyonLyonFrance
  5. 5.Université Lyon 1VilleurbanneFrance
  6. 6.CNRS, UMR 5557, Ecologie MicrobienneVilleurbanneFrance

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