Nitrogen to phosphorous ratio of plant biomass versus soil solution in a tropical pioneer tree, Ficus insipida

Valerie Garrish, Lucas Cernusak, Klaus Winter, Benjamin L Turner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    It is commonly assumed that the nitrogen to phosphorus (N:P) ratio of a terrestrial plant reflects the relative availability of N and P in the soil in which the plant grows. Here, this was assessed for a tropical pioneer tree, Ficus insipida. Seedlings were grown in sand and irrigated with nutrient solutions containing N:P ratios ranging from <1 to >100. The experimental design further allowed investigation of physiological responses to N and P availability. Homeostatic control over N:P ratios was stronger in leaves than in stems or roots, suggesting that N:P ratios of stems and roots are more sensitive indicators of the relative availability of N and P at a site than N:P ratios of leaves. The leaf N:P ratio at which the largest plant dry mass and highest photosynthetic rates were achieved was ?11, whereas the corresponding whole-plant N:P ratio was ?6. Plant P concentration varied as a function of transpiration rate at constant nutrient solution P concentration, possibly due to transpiration-induced variation in the mass flow of P to root surfaces. The transpiration rate varied in response to nutrient solution N concentration, but not to nutrient solution P concentration, demonstrating nutritional control over transpiration by N but not P. Water-use efficiency varied as a function of N availability, but not as a function of P availability. � 2010 The Author.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3735-3748
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
    Volume61
    Issue number13
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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    Ficus insipida
    Ficus
    pioneer species
    soil solution
    Biomass
    Phosphorus
    Nitrogen
    Soil
    phosphorus
    nitrogen
    nutrient solutions
    transpiration
    leaves
    stems
    mass flow
    phytomass
    Seedlings
    water use efficiency
    plant response
    Research Design

    Cite this

    Garrish, Valerie ; Cernusak, Lucas ; Winter, Klaus ; Turner, Benjamin L. / Nitrogen to phosphorous ratio of plant biomass versus soil solution in a tropical pioneer tree, Ficus insipida. In: Journal of Experimental Botany. 2010 ; Vol. 61, No. 13. pp. 3735-3748.
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    abstract = "It is commonly assumed that the nitrogen to phosphorus (N:P) ratio of a terrestrial plant reflects the relative availability of N and P in the soil in which the plant grows. Here, this was assessed for a tropical pioneer tree, Ficus insipida. Seedlings were grown in sand and irrigated with nutrient solutions containing N:P ratios ranging from <1 to >100. The experimental design further allowed investigation of physiological responses to N and P availability. Homeostatic control over N:P ratios was stronger in leaves than in stems or roots, suggesting that N:P ratios of stems and roots are more sensitive indicators of the relative availability of N and P at a site than N:P ratios of leaves. The leaf N:P ratio at which the largest plant dry mass and highest photosynthetic rates were achieved was ?11, whereas the corresponding whole-plant N:P ratio was ?6. Plant P concentration varied as a function of transpiration rate at constant nutrient solution P concentration, possibly due to transpiration-induced variation in the mass flow of P to root surfaces. The transpiration rate varied in response to nutrient solution N concentration, but not to nutrient solution P concentration, demonstrating nutritional control over transpiration by N but not P. Water-use efficiency varied as a function of N availability, but not as a function of P availability. � 2010 The Author.",
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    Nitrogen to phosphorous ratio of plant biomass versus soil solution in a tropical pioneer tree, Ficus insipida. / Garrish, Valerie; Cernusak, Lucas; Winter, Klaus; Turner, Benjamin L.

    In: Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 61, No. 13, 2010, p. 3735-3748.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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    T1 - Nitrogen to phosphorous ratio of plant biomass versus soil solution in a tropical pioneer tree, Ficus insipida

    AU - Garrish, Valerie

    AU - Cernusak, Lucas

    AU - Winter, Klaus

    AU - Turner, Benjamin L

    PY - 2010

    Y1 - 2010

    N2 - It is commonly assumed that the nitrogen to phosphorus (N:P) ratio of a terrestrial plant reflects the relative availability of N and P in the soil in which the plant grows. Here, this was assessed for a tropical pioneer tree, Ficus insipida. Seedlings were grown in sand and irrigated with nutrient solutions containing N:P ratios ranging from <1 to >100. The experimental design further allowed investigation of physiological responses to N and P availability. Homeostatic control over N:P ratios was stronger in leaves than in stems or roots, suggesting that N:P ratios of stems and roots are more sensitive indicators of the relative availability of N and P at a site than N:P ratios of leaves. The leaf N:P ratio at which the largest plant dry mass and highest photosynthetic rates were achieved was ?11, whereas the corresponding whole-plant N:P ratio was ?6. Plant P concentration varied as a function of transpiration rate at constant nutrient solution P concentration, possibly due to transpiration-induced variation in the mass flow of P to root surfaces. The transpiration rate varied in response to nutrient solution N concentration, but not to nutrient solution P concentration, demonstrating nutritional control over transpiration by N but not P. Water-use efficiency varied as a function of N availability, but not as a function of P availability. � 2010 The Author.

    AB - It is commonly assumed that the nitrogen to phosphorus (N:P) ratio of a terrestrial plant reflects the relative availability of N and P in the soil in which the plant grows. Here, this was assessed for a tropical pioneer tree, Ficus insipida. Seedlings were grown in sand and irrigated with nutrient solutions containing N:P ratios ranging from <1 to >100. The experimental design further allowed investigation of physiological responses to N and P availability. Homeostatic control over N:P ratios was stronger in leaves than in stems or roots, suggesting that N:P ratios of stems and roots are more sensitive indicators of the relative availability of N and P at a site than N:P ratios of leaves. The leaf N:P ratio at which the largest plant dry mass and highest photosynthetic rates were achieved was ?11, whereas the corresponding whole-plant N:P ratio was ?6. Plant P concentration varied as a function of transpiration rate at constant nutrient solution P concentration, possibly due to transpiration-induced variation in the mass flow of P to root surfaces. The transpiration rate varied in response to nutrient solution N concentration, but not to nutrient solution P concentration, demonstrating nutritional control over transpiration by N but not P. Water-use efficiency varied as a function of N availability, but not as a function of P availability. � 2010 The Author.

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