Rhizosphere effect and root growth of two maize (Zea mays L.) genotypes with contrasting P efficiency at low P availability

Yan Liu, Guohua Mi*, Fanjun Chen, Jianhua ZHANG, Fusuo Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

145 Citations (Scopus)


Exploring the genetic resource of crops is one alternative way to utilize the less available phosphorus (P) in soils, and copy with the incoming shortage of rock phosphate (Rock P). Genotypic differences in low-P tolerance exist in many crop species and result from various physiological and morphological mechanisms. In this study, low-P tolerance of two maize genotypes that had been identified to have contrasting P efficiency (grain yield) in a calcareous soil was investigated. Parameters measured were biomass accumulation, root growth and root exudation of organic acids, root acid phosphatase (APase) activity, and rhizosphere pH under P-deficient (-P) and P-sufficient (+P) conditions in solution culture. The results showed that -P treatment increased root biomass (from 6th to the 15th day), root to shoot ratio, lateral root length, and APase activity in roots and on the root surface, but reduced root exudation of organic acids and pH in rhizosphere for both genotypes. The P-efficient line 181 had a larger root system in terms of root weight and lateral root length than the P-inefficient line 197 in both P treatments, indicating root morphology of line 181 is an advantageous but non-specific trait in adaptation to low P stress. Genotype 181, when grown with -P markedly reduced the pH of the solution and rizhosphere and increased the APase activity in the roots and on the root surfaces. Surprisingly, root exudation of organic acids was reduced by -P in both genotypes. Exudation rate of organic acids in 181 was lower than that of 197 under both P treatments. It was concluded that efficient use of P in the calcareous soil by 181 is related to its large root system, greater ability to acidify the rhizosphere, and positive response of APase production and excretion to low P conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-223
Number of pages7
JournalPlant Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Genetics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Acid phosphatase
  • Maize
  • Organic acids
  • P deficiency
  • pH
  • Root growth


Dive into the research topics of 'Rhizosphere effect and root growth of two maize (Zea mays L.) genotypes with contrasting P efficiency at low P availability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this