Phosphorus-Use Efficiency Modified by Complementary Effects of P Supply Intensity With Limited Root Growth Space

Front Plant Sci. 2021 Sep 27;12:728527. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2021.728527. eCollection 2021.


Space availability and the maintenance of adequate phosphorus (P) supply in the root zone are essential for achieving high yield and P-use efficiency in maize production by manipulating the root morphology and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi colonization. A major trade-off exists between root growth and AM colonization that is influenced by soil P supply intensity and space availability. However, how soil P manipulates the root morphological characteristics and AM colonization to compensate for the limitation of root-growth space induced by high-planting density is not clear. Therefore, pot experiments were conducted to investigate interactions between the root growth and AM fungi by optimizing soil P supply to compensate for limited root growth space induced by high-planting density. Similar shoot biomass and P uptake values were obtained in P200 (200 mg P kg-1 soil) under D = 40 (i.e., diameter of the pot is 40 cm) and P400 under D = 30, and similar values were obtained for root length, tap root length, root angle, lateral root density, and AM colonization. However, the improvement in P supply in the root zone, shoot biomass, and P uptake in P400 under D = 20 were lower than in P200 under D = 30, and there were no significant differences in the root parameters between P200 and P400 under D = 20; similarly, the root growth and AM colonization exhibited similar trends. These results suggest that optimizing P supply in the root zone to regulate the interaction between root morphological traits and AM colonization can compensate for limited root-growth space. Although P supply in the root zone increased after the root-growth space was compressed, it could not meet the P demand of maize; thus, to achieve the most efficient use of P under intensive high-density maize production, it is necessary to optimally coordinate root growth space and P supply in the root zone.

PMID:34646288 | PMC:PMC8503601 | DOI:10.3389/fpls.2021.728527


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