We examined cluster root formation and root exudation by white lupin (Lupinus albus L. cv. Kiev Mutant) in response to growth medium and phosphorus supply in a sand/solution split-root system. The split-root system consisted of a nutrient solution compartment and a siliceous sand compartment. Phosphorus was applied at 1 (low-P plants) or 50 (high-P plants) mu M as KH2PO4 to the solution compartment and at 10, 50 or 250 mg P kg(-1) as hydroxyapatite (Ca-P) to the sand compartment. In contrast to the high-P plants, P concentration and P uptake in the low-P plants increased with increasing P supply to the sand compartment. The NaHCO3-extractable P was lower in the rhizosphere of the low-P plants than the high-P ones. The proton extrusion rate by the solution-grown roots of the low-P plants was higher than that of the high-P plants at the early growth stage. For the low-P plants, the proportion of dry root biomass allocated to cluster roots was higher in the solution compartment than that in the sand compartment. The citrate exudation increased in the sand compartment and decreased in the solution compartment with time, showing a lack of synchronization in citrate exudation by two root halves grown in different media. The cluster root proportion and citrate exudation in both compartments decreased with increasing shoot P concentration. An additional experiment with no P added to either root compartment showed that the proportion of cluster roots was about 9% lower in the sand than solution compartments. The results suggest that cluster root formation and citrate exudation can be significantly affected by the root growth medium in addition to being regulated by shoot P status. More P can be exploited from sparingly available Ca-P by the low-P plants than the high-P ones due to greater citrate exudation under P deficiency.