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Morphological plasticity by crop plants and their potassium use efficiency

Høgh-Jensen, Dr Henning and Pedersen, Morten B. (2003) Morphological plasticity by crop plants and their potassium use efficiency. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 26 (5), pp. 969-984.

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A decrease in the use of fertilizers and a decrease in soil fertility direct the research focus towards the ability of the crops to adapt to low potassium conditions and to their ability to utilise sparingly soluble potassium sources. Pea (Pisum sativum), red clover (Trifolium pratense), lucerne (Medicago Sativa L.), barley (Hordium vulgare), rye (Secale cerale), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), and oilseed rape (Brassica napus oliefera) were grown in thin layers of soils to study their root morphological plasticity and ability to utilise different potassium pools at 26 and 60 mg exchangeable K kg-1 soil. The legumes (pea, red clover, lucerne) accumulated larger amounts of nitrogen but lower amounts of potassium than rye, ryegrass, barley, and oilseed rape. The differences in potassium accumulation correlated with root hair length (R2=0.50). Rye had an outstanding root surface that in total as well as per unit root dry matter was twice that of the other crops. The ranking in decreasing order was rye, ryegrass, oilseed rape, lucerne, barley, pea and red clover. This ranking was unaffected (P>0.05) by the initial soil potassium content although the root surface in all cases increased when grown in soil low on potassium compared to soils with a better potassium supply. This increase was achieved by increasing root hair length as root hair density was similar (P>0.05) for all crops and soils. Efficient use of sparingly soluble potassium pools was important for all investigated crops. In conclusion, crops modify their root hair length as response to low potassium conditions and thereby maintain the uptake from sparingly soluble potassium sources.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF I (1996-2001) > I.2 Nitrogen fixation, recycling and leaching in organic cropping systems
Deposited By: Jensen, Dr Henning Høgh
ID Code:318
Deposited On:19 Dec 2002
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:27
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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