Plant and Microbe Strategies to Improve P Efficiency
Summarised by Dr Ash Martin PhD BSc(For)Hons
Agricultural production is often limited by low phosphorus (P) availability. Three strategies by which plants and microbes may improve P-use efficiency are outlined: (i) Root-foraging strategies that improve P acquisition by lowering the critical P requirement of plant growth and allowing agriculture to operate at lower levels of soil P; (ii) P-mining strategies to enhance the desorption, solubilisation or mineralisation of P from sparingly-available sources in soil using root exudates (organic anions, phosphatases), and (iii) improving internal P-utilisation efficiency through the use of plants that yield more per unit of P uptake. This article critically reviews evidence that more P-efficient plants can be developed by modifying root growth and architecture, through manipulation of root exudates or by managing plant-microbial associations such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and microbial inoculants.
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Read the in-depth article:
Richardson et al. (2011). Plant and microbial strategies to improve the phosphorus efficiency of agriculture. Plant and Soil. 349: 121–156. (Requires PDF viewer)