Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2021-168
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2021-168

  12 Jul 2021

12 Jul 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Phosphorus stress strongly reduced plant physiological activity, but only temporarily, in a mesocosm experiment with Zea mays colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Melanie S. Verlinden1, Hamada AbdElgawad2,3, Arne Ven1, Lore T. Verryckt1, Sebastian Wieneke1,4, Ivan A. Janssens1, and Sara Vicca1 Melanie S. Verlinden et al.
  • 1Plant and Vegetation Ecology (PLECO), Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, 2610, Belgium
  • 2Botany and Microbiology Department, Faculty of Science, Beni‒Suef University, Beni‒Suef, 62521, Egypt
  • 3Integrated Molecular Plant Physiology Research (IMPRES), Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, 2020, Belgium
  • 4Remote Sensing Centre for Earth System Research (RSC4Earth, Faculty of Physics and Earth Sciences, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, 04109, Germany

Abstract. Despite being an essential macronutrient for plant growth, phosphorus (P) is one of the least available nutrients in soils and P limitation is often a major constraint for plant growth globally. Although P addition experiments have been carried out to study the long-term effects on the yield, data on P addition effects to seasonal variation in leaf-level photosynthesis are scarce. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can be of major importance for plant nutrient uptake, and AMF growth may be important for explaining temporal patterns in leaf physiology. In a nitrogen (N) and P fertilization experiment with Zea mays, we investigated the effect of P limitation on leaf pigments and leaf enzymes, how these relate to leaf-level photosynthesis, and how these relationships change during the growing season. Previous research indicated that N addition did not affect plant growth and also the leaf measurements in the current study were unaffected by N addition. Contrary to N addition, P addition strongly influenced plant growth and leaf-level measurements. At low soil P availability, leaf-level photosynthetic and respiratory activity were strongly decreased and this was associated with reduced chlorophyll and photosynthetic enzymes. Contrary to the expected increase in P stress over time following gradual soil P depletion, plant P-limitation decreased over time. For most leaf-level processes, pigments and enzymes under study, the fertilization effect had even disappeared two months after planting. Our results point towards a key role for the AMF-symbiosis and consequent increase of P uptake in explaining the vanishing P stress.

Melanie S. Verlinden et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comments on bg-2021-168', Anonymous Referee #1, 11 Aug 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', M. S. Verlinden, 18 Nov 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2021-168', Anonymous Referee #2, 27 Sep 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', M. S. Verlinden, 18 Nov 2021

Melanie S. Verlinden et al.

Melanie S. Verlinden et al.

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Short summary
Zea mays grown in mesocosms with different soil nutrition levels • At low P availability leaf physiological activity initially decreased strongly • P stress decreased over the season • AMF symbiosis increased over the season • AMF symbiosis is most likely responsible for gradual reduction in P stress
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