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Elemental Analysis of Deposits on the Roots of Spartina alterniflora Loisel.
Irving A. Mendelssohn and Michael T. Postek
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 69, No. 6 (Jul., 1982), pp. 904-912
Published by: Botanical Society of America, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2442887
Page Count: 9
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Spartina alterniflora, salt marsh cordgrass, is the dominant angiosperm of a large majority of regularly flooded marshes of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. In Louisiana, this species often occurs in two distinct zones: a more productive streamside site (adjacent to tidal creeks), and a less productive and sparsely populated inland area. Reddish-brown deposits are present on the roots of streamside Spartina and visually absent from the roots of inland plants. A study of streamside roots using scanning electron microscope and energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis demonstrated that the coatings are restricted to the outer cell wall of the epidermis and are composed primarily of iron. Roots of inland plants have minor iron deposits. Citrate-dithionite extraction of the coatings and subsequent atomic absorption spectrophotometric analysis confirmed these deposits to be iron, although some manganese was present. Approximately 50 times more iron was found on streamside roots compared to roots from inland plants. These results indicate a better developed oxidized rhizosphere associated with streamside Spartina roots than the inland and, hence, the potential for a more favorable environment in which nutrient uptake may proceed.
American Journal of Botany © 1982 Botanical Society of America, Inc.