Chickpea facilitates phosphorus uptake by intercropped wheat from an organic phosphorus source

Long Li, Caixian Tang, Zdenko Rengel, Fusuo Zhang

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154 Citations (Scopus)


Pot experiments were conducted to investigate interspecific complementation in utilization of phytate and FePO4 by plants in the wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)/chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) intercropping under sterile and non-sterile conditions. The pots were separated into two compartments by either a solid root barrier to eliminate root contact and solute movement, by a nylon mesh (30 μM) to prevent root contact but permit solute exchange, or not separated between the compartments. Wheat plants were grown in one compartment and chickpea in the other. Two P sources were tested at 60 mg P kg-1 soil (sodium phytate or FePO4). Under non-sterile conditions, the biomass of wheat was significantly greater when the roots were intermingled with chickpea than when the roots were separated from chickpea roots by a solid root barrier or nylon mesh. When phytate-P was applied, P concentrations in wheat (2.9 g kg-1 in shoots and 1.4 g kg-1 in roots) without root barrier between the two species were higher than those in the treatments with nylon mesh or with the solid root barrier separation (1.9 g kg-1 in shoots and 1.0 g kg-1 in roots). In contrast, P concentrations in wheat supplied with FePO4 were similar between the root separation treatments. There was no significant difference in P uptake by chickpea between the P sources or between the root separation treatments, except that P uptake was greater in the phytate treatment with the root barrier. Total P uptake from phytate was increased by 25% without root separation compared to the root separation treatments. Under sterile conditions and supply of phytate-P, the biomass of wheat was doubled when the roots were intermingled with chickpea and increased by a third with the nylon mesh separation compared to that with the solid root barrier. Biomass production in wheat at various treatments correlated with P concentration in shoot. Biomass production and P concentration in chickpea were unaffected by root separation. Total P uptake by plants was 68% greater with root intermingling and 37% greater with nylon mesh separation than that with the solid root barrier. The results suggest that chickpea roots facilitate P utilization from the organic P by wheat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-303
Number of pages7
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003

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