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Common and specific responses to availability of mineral nutrients and water

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineLiterature reviewpeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Experimental Botany
Issue number8
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)2133-2144
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date19/02/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Changes in resource (mineral nutrients and water) availability, due to their heterogeneous distribution in space and time, affect plant development. Plants need to sense these changes to optimize growth and biomass allocation by integrating root and shoot growth. Since a limited supply of water or nutrients can elicit similar physiological responses (the relative activation of root growth at the expense of shoot growth), similar underlying mechanisms may affect perception and acquisition of either nutrients or water. This review compares root and shoot responses to availability of different macronutrients and water. Attention is given to the roles of root-to-shoot signalling and shoot-to-root signalling, with regard to coordinating changes in root and shoot growth and development. Involvement of plant hormones in regulating physiological responses such as stomatal and hydraulic conductance is revealed by measuring the effects of resource availability on phytohormone concentrations in roots and shoots, and their flow between roots and shoots in xylem and phloem saps. More specific evidence can be obtained by measuring the physiological responses of genotypes with altered hormone responses or concentrations. We discuss the similarity and diversity of changes in shoot growth, allocation to root growth, and root architecture under changes in water, nitrate, and phosphorus availability, and the possible involvement of abscisic acid, indole-acetic acid, and cytokinin in their regulation. A better understanding of these mechanisms may contribute to better crop management for efficient use of these resources and to selecting crops for improved performance under suboptimal soil conditions.