Our understanding of plant mineral nutrition comes largely from studies of herbaceous crops that evolved from ruderal species characteristic of nutriÂ ent-rich disturbed sites (52). With the development of agriculture, these ancestral species were bred for greater productivity and reproductive output at high nutrient levels where there was little selective advantage in efficient nutrient use. This paper briefly reviews the nature of crop responses to nutrient stress and compares these responses to those of species that have evolved under more natural conditions, particularly in low-nutrient enviÂ ronments. I draw primarily upon nutritional studies of nitrogen and phosÂ phorus because these elements most commonly limit plant growth and because their role in controlling plant growth and metabolism is most clearly understood (51). Other more specific aspects of nutritional plant ecology not discussed here include ammonium/nitrate nutrition (79), calÂ cicole/calcifuge nutrition (51,88),heavy metal tolerance (4), and serpentine ecology (133). CROP NUTRITION Nutrient Absorption ROOT-SOIL INTERACTIONS The rate of nutrient absorption by a root depends upon both nutrient supply to the root surface and active absorption by root cortical cells. Nutrient supply to the root surface depends upon (a) soil solution concentration,(b) buffering power of the soil (i.e. capacity of soil
Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics – Annual Reviews
Published: Nov 1, 1980
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