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Rhizosphere Processes and Root Traits Determining the Acquisition of Soil Potassium

Abstract : Plants acquire K + ions from the soil solution, and this small and dynamic pool needs to be quickly replenished via desorption of surface-adsorbed K from clay minerals and organic matter, by release of interlayer K from micaceous clay minerals and micas, or structural K from feldspars. Because of these chemical interactions with soil solid phases, solution K + concentration is kept low and its mobility is restricted. In response, plants have evolved efficient strategies of root foraging. Root traits related to root system architecture (root angle and branching), root length and growth, together with root hairs and mycorrhiza-related traits help to determine the capacity of plants to cope with the poor mobility of soil K. Rooting depth is also important, given the potentially significant contribution of subsoil K in many soils. Root-induced depletion of K + shifts the exchange equilibria, enhancing desorption of K, as well as the release of nonexchangeable, interlayer K from minerals in the rhizosphere. Both these pools can be bioavailable if plant roots can take up significant amounts of K at low concentrations in the soil solution (in the micromolar range). In addition, roots can significantly acidify their environment or release large amounts of organic compounds (exudates). These two processes ultimately promote the dissolution of micas and feldspars in the rhizosphere, contributing to the mining strategy evolved by plants. There are thus several root or rhizosphere-related traits (morphological, physiological, or biochemical) that determine the acquisition of K by crop species and genotypes.
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Contributor : Dominique Fournier <>
Submitted on : Sunday, June 6, 2021 - 10:49:58 PM
Last modification on : Monday, June 7, 2021 - 3:36:50 AM


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Philippe Hinsinger, Michael Bell, John Kovar, Philip White. Rhizosphere Processes and Root Traits Determining the Acquisition of Soil Potassium. Murrell T.S.; Mikkelsen R.L.; Sulewski G.; Norton R.; Thompson M.L. Improving Potassium Recommendations for Agricultural Crops, Springer International Publishing, pp.99-117, 2021, 978-3-030-59196-0. ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-59197-7_4⟩. ⟨hal-03251292⟩



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