Plant and Soil

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 331–340 | Cite as

Uptake and distribution of phosphorus in tomato plants

  • R. T. Besford


The uptake and distribution of phosphorus was examined in tomato plants, cv. Kirdford Cross, grown in peat to which phosphate was added (P2) or omitted (P1). The plants received a liquid feed containing either a high (N2) or low (N1) concentration of ammonium nitrate. Initially, all plants were grown in peat containing an intermediate level of phosphate.

There was a rapid net export of P from the leaves of plants transferred to the P1 medium resulting in deficiency symptoms before the fruit on the first truss had ripened. Most of the P absorbed by 11-week-old plants in the N1P2 and N2P2 treatments was located in the developing fruit, in the laminae of the mature leaves and in the lower parts of the stem. In the P1 treatments, the lowest fruit truss was the dominant sink for the limited supply of P, but there was also a significant concentration of P in the shoot apex and in the laminae. Increasing the supply of N to plants in the P2 treatment promoted the transport of P to the shoot and to the fruit trusses and also increased the total P uptake. However, plants in the N2 treatment required a significantly higher level of tissue P to prevent the symptoms of P deficiency occurring in the laminae. Generally, symptoms occurred in laminae of mature leaves containing less than 0.13 per cent P. Increases in concentration of tissue P in response to raising the level of applied P were greatest in the petioles of the mature leaves, and it is suggested that these petioles are the most suitable tissues for the assessment of the P status of tomato plants.

Key Words

Deficiency Distribution Fruit Glasshouse Laminae Leaves Nitrogen Peat Petioles Phosphorus Plant Superphosphate Symptoms Tomato Uptake 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague/Kluwer Academic Publishers 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. T. Besford
    • 1
  1. 1.Glasshouse Crops Research InstituteLittlehamptonEngland

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