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Phosphorus addition increased carbon partitioning to autotrophic respiration but not to biomass production in an experiment with Zea mays

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Plant carbon (C) partitioning ‐ the relative use of photosynthates for biomass production, respiration, and other plant functions ‐ is a key but poorly understood ecosystem process. In an experiment with Zea mays , with or without arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), we investigated the effect of phosphorus (P) fertilization and AMF on plant C partitioning. Based on earlier studies, we expected C partitioning to biomass production (i.e., biomass production efficiency; BPE) to increase with increasing P addition due to reduced C partitioning to AMF. However, although plant growth was clearly stimulated by P addition, BPE did not increase. Instead, C partitioning to autotrophic respiration increased. These results contrasted with our expectations and with a previous experiment in the same set‐up where P addition increased BPE while no effect on autotropic respiration was found. The comparison of both experiments suggests a key role for AMF in explaining these contrasts. Whereas in the previous experiment substantial C partitioning to AMF reduced BPE under low P, in the current experiment, C partitioning to AMF was too low to directly influence BPE. Our results illustrate the complex influence of nutrient availability and mycorrhizal symbiosis on plant C partitioning.
Journal: Plant, Cell & Environment
ISSN: 0140-7791
Volume: 43
Pages: 2054 - 2065
Publication year:2020
Keywords:Plant sciences