Soil Solution Phosphate, Root Uptake Kinetics and Nutrient Acquisition: Implications for a Patchy Soil Environment
The importance of increased root phosphate (P) uptake kinetics, root proliferation and local increases of soil solution P (P1) for P acquisition from fertile soil microsites was explored with a simulation model and calculated uptake was compared with experimental data. Based on the partitioning of added P in microsites to P1 and P adsorbed on soil particles and the results of a dual-isotope-labeling experiment (Caldwell et al. 1991a), acquisition of P from the fertile microsites was some 20 X that of uptake from an equal volume of soil which received only water. Simulations were in general agreement and also showed that elevation of root P uptake kinetics could contribute more to the increased acquisition than did root proliferation under these circumstances. Although increased physiological uptake capacity for P has generally been considered to be of little benefit because of diffusion limitation, in patchy soil environments selective elevation of P uptake kinetics in fertile microsites may be of considerable benefit. These tests were conducted in calcareous soil which releases much less P into the soil solution than do many other soils. In many noncalcareous soils the benefits of selective elevation of root uptake kinetics would likely be greater.
Caldwell, M.M.; Dudley, L. M.; Lilieholm, R. 1992. Soil Solution Phosphate, Root Uptake Kinetics and Nutrient Acquisition: Implications for a Patchy Soil Environment. Oecologia 89(3): 305-309.