U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Phosphorus deficiency affects the allocation of below-ground resources to combined cluster roots and nodules in Lupinus albus

Thuynsma, Rochelle, Valentine, Alex, Kleinert, Aleysia
Journal of plant physiology 2014 v.171 no.3-4 pp. 285-291
Lupinus albus, biomass, nitrogen fixation, nutrition, phosphorus, resource allocation, roots, sand
Lupins can rely on both cluster roots and nodules for P acquisition and biological nitrogen fixation (BNF), respectively. The resource allocation (C, N and P) between cluster roots and nodules has been largely understudied during P-deficient conditions. The aim of this investigation was therefore to determine the changes in resource allocation between these organs during fluctuations in P supply. Lupinus albus was cultivated in sand culture for 3 weeks, with either sufficient (2mM high) or limiting (0.1mM low) P supply. Although variation on P supply had no effect on the total biomass, there were significant differences in specialised below-ground organ allocation to cluster roots and nodule formation. Cluster root formation and the associated C-costs increased during low P supply, but at sufficient P-supply the construction and growth respiration costs of cluster roots declined along with their growth. In contrast to the cluster root decline at high P supply, there was an increase in nodule growth allocation and corresponding C-costs. However, this was not associated with an increase in BNF. Since cluster roots were able to increase P acquisition under low P conditions, this below-ground investment may also have benefited the P nutrition of nodules. These findings provide evidence that when lupins acquire N via BNF in their nodules, there may be a trade-off in resource allocation between cluster roots and nodules.