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An overview of rhizosphere processes related with plant nutrition in major cropping systems in China

Abstract

Rhizosphere processes of individual plants have been widely investigated since 1904 when the term “rhizosphere” was first put forward. However, little attention has been paid to rhizosphere effects at an agro-ecosystem level. This paper presents recent research on the rhizosphere processes in relation to plant nutrition in main cropping systems in China. In the peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.)/maize (Zea mays L.) intercropping system, maize was found to improve the Fe nutrition of peanut through influencing its rhizosphere processes, suggesting an important role of phytosiderophores released from Fe-deficient maize. Intercropping between maize and faba bean (Vicia faba L.) was found to improve nitrogen and phosphorus uptake in the two crops compared with corresponding sole crop. There was a higher land equivalent ratio (LER) in the intercropping system of maize and faba bean than the treatment of no root interactions between the two crops. The increased yield of maize intercropped with faba bean resulted from an interspecific facilitation in nutrient uptake, depending on interspecific root interactions of the two crops. In the rotation system of rice (Oryza sativa L.)-wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) crops, Mn deficiency in wheat was caused by excessive Mn uptake by rice and Mn leaching from topsoil to subsoil due to periodic cycles of flooding and drying. However, wheat genotypes tolerant to Mn deficiency tended to distribute more roots to deeper soil layer and thus expand their rhizosphere zones in the Mn-deficient soils and utilize Mn from the subsoil. Deep ploughing also helped root penetration into subsoil and was propitious to correcting Mn deficiency in wheat rotated with rice. In comparison, oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) took up more Mn than wheat through mobilizing sparingly soluble soil Mn due to acidification and reduction processes in the rhizosphere. Thus, oilseed rape was tolerant to the Mn-deficient conditions in the rice-oilseed rape rotation. Oxidation reactions on root surface of rice also resulted in the formation of Fe plaque in the rice rhizosphere. Large amounts of Zn were accumulated on the Fe plaque. Zinc uptake by rice plants increased as Fe plaque formed, but decreased at high amounts of Fe plaque. It is suggested that to fine-tune cropping patterns and optimize nutrient management based on a better understanding of rhizosphere processes at an agro-ecosystem level is crucial for increasing nutrient use efficiency and developing sustainable agriculture in China.

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Zhang, F., Shen, J., Li, L. et al. An overview of rhizosphere processes related with plant nutrition in major cropping systems in China. Plant and Soil 260, 89–99 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:PLSO.0000030192.15621.20

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/B:PLSO.0000030192.15621.20

  • cropping system
  • intercropping
  • nutrient use efficiency
  • rhizosphere processes
  • rotation
  • soil nutrients