Leaf phosphorus fractionation in rice to understand internal phosphorus-use efficiency

Patrick E. Hayes, Getnet D. Adem, Juan Pariasca-Tanaka, Matthias Wissuwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Aims: Phosphorus (P) availability is often limiting for rice (Oryza sativa) production. Improving internal P-use efficiency (PUE) is crucial to sustainable food production, particularly in low-input systems. A critical aspect of PUE in plants, and one that remains poorly understood, is the investment of leaf P in different chemical P fractions (nucleic acid-P, lipid-P, inorganic-P, metabolite-P and residual-P). The overarching objective of this study was to understand how these key P fractions influence PUE. Methods: Three high-PUE and two low-PUE rice genotypes were grown in hydroponics with contrasting P supplies. We measured PUE, total P, P fractions, photosynthesis and biomass. Key Results: Low investment in lipid-P was strongly associated with increased photosynthetic PUE (PPUE), achieved by reducing total leaf P concentration while maintaining rapid photosynthetic rates. All low-P plants exhibited a low investment in inorganic-P and lipid-P, but not nucleic acid-P. In addition, whole-plant PUE was strongly associated with reduced total P concentration, increased biomass and increased preferential allocation of resources to the youngest mature leaves. Conclusions: Lipid remodelling has been shown in rice before, but we show for the first time that reduced lipid-P investment improves PUE in rice without reducing photosynthesis. This presents a novel pathway for increasing PUE by targeting varieties with reduced lipid-P investment. This will benefit rice production in low-P soils and in areas where fertilizer use is limited, improving global food security by reducing P fertilizer demands and food production costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-302
Number of pages16
JournalAnnals of Botany
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2022


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