Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 538529
Title What root traits determine grass resistance to phosphorus deficiency in production grassland?
Author(s) Ros, Mart B.H.; Deyn, Gerlinde B. de; Koopmans, Gerwin F.; Oenema, Oene; Groenigen, Jan Willem van
Source Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 181 (2018)3. - ISSN 1436-8730 - p. 323 - 335.
Department(s) Chair Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality
Chair Soil Biology and Biological Soil Quality
Alterra - Sustainable soil management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Availibility Full text available from 2019-06-01
Keyword(s) P acquisition - root characteristics - root length - structural equation modeling - yield

Grasslands are a major form of agricultural land use worldwide. Current and future declines of phosphorus (P) inputs into production grasslands necessitate a shift towards selecting grass species based on high efficiency under suboptimal, rather than optimal P conditions. It is therefore imperative to identify key root traits that determine P acquisition of grasses in soils with a low P status. In a 9-month greenhouse experiment, we grew eight common grass species and cultivars on a soil with a low P status and related root morphological traits to their performance under P-limiting conditions. We applied (P1) or withheld (P0) P fertilization while providing adequate amounts of all other nutrients. Omitting P fertilization greatly reduced yield and nutrient acquisition for the various grass species. Biomass production differed significantly (P < 0.1%) among species and P fertilization treatments, varying from 17.1 to 72.1 g pot−1 in the P0 treatment and from 33.4 to 85.8 g pot−1 in the P1 treatment. Root traits were species-specific and unresponsive to P fertilization, but overall we observed a trade-off between root biomass and specific root length. Structural equation modeling identified total root length as key factor with respect to resistance to P deficiency, especially when roots explored the subsoil. Optimizing root length and subsoil exploration could be the key to maintaining high productivity of production grasslands with decreasing P availability. This is relevant for both plant breeding programs and for composing seed mixtures.

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