Plant and Soil

, Volume 378, Issue 1–2, pp 125–137 | Cite as

Phosphorus speciation in mature wheat and canola plants as affected by phosphorus supply

  • Sarah R. NoackEmail author
  • Mike J. McLaughlin
  • Ronald J. Smernik
  • Therese M. McBeath
  • Roger D. Armstrong


Background and aims

As plants approach maturity and start to senesce, the primary sink for phosphorus (P) is the seed but it is unclear how plant P status affects the resulting P concentration and speciation in the seed and remaining plant parts of the residues. This study was established to measure how P speciation in different parts of wheat and canola is affected by plant P status.


Wheat and canola grown in the glasshouse were supplied three different P rates (5, 30 and 60 kg P ha−1 equivalent). At physiological maturity, plants were harvested and P speciation was determined for all plant parts (root, stem, leaf, chaff/pod and seed) and rates of P application, using solution 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.


Phytate was the dominant form of P in seed whereas orthophosphate was the dominant form of P in other plant parts. The distribution of P species varied with P status for canola but not for wheat. The phytate content of wheat chaff increased from 10 to 45 % of total P as the P rate increased. Canola pods did not show a similar trend, with most P present as orthophosphate.


Although minor differences were observed in P speciation across the three P application rates and plant parts, the effect of this on P cycling from residues into soil is likely to be relatively minor in comparison to the overall contribution of these residues to soil P pools. This glasshouse experiment shows the dominant P form in crop residues that is returned to soil after harvest is orthophosphate, regardless of plant P status.


Phosphorus Plant P status Residues Speciation Organic P Inorganic P 





Diffuse gradient thin film


Electrical conductivity




Sodium hydroxide ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid


Nuclear magnetic resonance




Phosphorus buffering index


Ribonucleic acid



The authors thank the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) for providing funding to support this research (DAV00095) and the University of Adelaide for the James Frederick Sandoz Scholarship. We thank Waite Analytical Services for their help with elemental analysis and Yue Wu for technical assistance.

Supplementary material

11104_2013_2015_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (38 kb)
Table S1 (PDF 37 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah R. Noack
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mike J. McLaughlin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ronald J. Smernik
    • 1
  • Therese M. McBeath
    • 3
  • Roger D. Armstrong
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Agriculture, Food and Wine and Waite Research InstituteThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture FlagshipCSIRO Land and WaterAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture FlagshipCSIRO Ecosystem SciencesAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Grains Innovation Park, Department of Environment & Primary IndustriesHorshamAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Agricultural SciencesLaTrobe UniversityBundooraAustralia

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