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Fine Root Production of Astringent Phenolics

Robert N. Muller, Paul J. Kalisz and James O. Luken
Oecologia
Vol. 79, No. 4 (1989), pp. 563-565
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4218996
Page Count: 3
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Fine Root Production of Astringent Phenolics
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Abstract

Chemical quality of fine roots (< 1 mm diameter) was determined over a gradient of species composition in the Mixed Mesophytic Forest Region. Ash-free nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus concentrations of roots declined by 49, 41, and 72%, respectively, over a gradient of increasing soil acidity (pH 5.3 to 4.7). Lignin concentration was unrelated to either the vegetation gradient or any of the soil changes it encompassed; however, astringent phenolics increased by 275% over the same gradient. Trends in the chemical constituency of fine roots suggest that the production of phenolics in below-ground plant parts is increased on nutrient-poor sites. This response is best related to changes in species composition, especially increasing importance of Quercus spp.

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