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Phosphorus Acquisition and Use: Critical Adaptations by Plants for Securing a Nonrenewable Resource

Carroll P. Vance, Claudia Uhde-Stone and Deborah L. Allan
The New Phytologist
Vol. 157, No. 3, Special Issue: Soil Microbes and Plant Production (Mar., 2003), pp. 423-447
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the New Phytologist Trust
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1514050
Page Count: 25
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Phosphorus Acquisition and Use: Critical Adaptations by Plants for Securing a Nonrenewable Resource
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Abstract

Phosphorus (P) is limiting for crop yield on > 30% of the world's arable land and, by some estimates, world resources of inexpensive P may be depleted by 2050. Improvement of P acquisition and use by plants is critical for economic, humanitarian and environmental reasons. Plants have evolved a diverse array of strategies to obtain adequate P under limiting conditions, including modifications to root architecture, carbon metabolism and membrane structure, exudation of low molecular weight organic acids, protons and enzymes, and enhanced expression of the numerous genes involved in low-P adaptation. These adaptations may be less pronounced in mycorrhizal-associated plants. The formation of cluster roots under P-stress by the nonmycorrhizal species white lupin (Lupinus albus), and the accompanying biochemical changes exemplify many of the plant adaptations that enhance P acquisition and use. Physiological, biochemical, and molecular studies of white lupin and other species response to P-deficiency have identified targets that may be useful for plant improvement. Genomic approaches involving identification of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) found under low-P stress may also yield target sites for plant improvement. Interdisciplinary studies uniting plant breeding, biochemistry, soil science, and genetics under the large umbrella of genomics are prerequisite for rapid progress in improving nutrient acquisition and use in plants.

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