Phosphorus starvation induced root-mediated pH changes in solublization and acquisition of sparingly soluble P sources and organic acids exudation by Brassica cultivars

Akhtar M. Shahbaz, Yoko Oki, Tadashi Adachi, Yoshiyuki Murata, Md Harunar Rashid Khan

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Plant species and cultivars elicit a diverse array of sophisticated metabolic and developmental strategies to enhance phosphorus (P) solublization and acquisition from P-deficient rooting media. Scavenging of phosphate (Pi) from extracellular sparingly soluble P sources may be aided by organic acids (OAs) exudation and root-mediated pH changes under a P-stress environment. Root exudates were collected to quantify short-term (4 h, 8 h) carboxylate exudation using hydroponically grown Brassica cultivars. Malic and citric acids were the dominant OAs and efficient cultivars exuded 2-3-fold more OAs than inefficient cultivars under P-deficient conditions. However, the exudation rate of both resistant and sensitive cultivars decreased with time. Experiments in nutrient solution were conducted to evaluate growth responses and the P solublization and acquisition ability of six genetically diverse Brassica cultivars. Pre-germinated seedlings were grown in nutrient solution containing ammonium di-hydrogen phosphate (AP), tri-calcium phosphate (TCP) and rock phosphate (RP) (TCP at 0.2 g L -1 and RP at 2 g L -1, in a bid to maintain deficiently buffered solution-P concentration) as different P sources. The cultivars exhibited substantial growth differences (P < 0.001) in terms of biomass accumulation, P acquisition and P utilization efficiency (PUE). Biomass production correlated significantly (P < 0.01) with their shoot P uptake and PUE at both P sources, indicating that cultivars efficient in P solublization accumulated more biomass. Higher P uptake by all cultivars was significantly related to the drop in root medium pH, which was presumably owing to H + efflux from the roots supplied with TCP and RP. Higher shoot dry matter of the cultivars at TCP was related to better P acquisition ability, which in turn was related to higher Ca uptake. Thus, cultivars with efficient Ca accumulation ability can acquire higher amounts of P from P-deficient soils and can adapt well to such low-P soil conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-633
Number of pages11
JournalSoil Science and Plant Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2006



  • Brassica cultivars
  • Citrate
  • Malate
  • P solublization
  • P uptake
  • PUE
  • RP
  • TCP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science

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