The effect of the deficiency in mineral nutrients was investigated in plant species representing various adaptation groups (stress-tolerant, competitive, and ruderal plants). Dry and fresh weight, as well as the length of shoots and underground organs, were determined in 20- to 50-day-old seedlings. The ratio between the dry weights of shoot and root (SRR), relative growth rate (RGR), the rate of total dark respiration (ΣR), gross photosynthesis (P g), and the proportion of the respiratory expenditures to gross photosynthesis (ΣR/P g) were calculated. When affected by a deficiency in mineral nutrients, the weight of the whole plant decreased. In resistant species of clover (Trifolium pratense L.) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), this reduction was insignificant, whereas, in the ruderal species amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus L.), it was at its highest. In all the species investigated, the ratio ΣR/P g was 38–46%. Under stress conditions, this index increased. Given a deficiency in mineral nutrients, the changes in SRR, RGR, and ΣR/P g were greater in amaranth, suggesting that this plant species is less tolerant to stress. The correlation between RGR and ΣR observed in amaranth under normal conditions indicates that the major energy expenditures are associated with growth. Under stress conditions, such a correlation was not observed. In more resistant species of clover and alfalfa, a weak positive correlation between RGR and ΣR was observed both under normal and stress conditions. In these species, the deficiency in mineral nutrients probably brought about a reduction in the growth component of total dark respiration and a rise in the adaptation component. The complex of indices (ΣR/P g, RGR, and SRR) and the extent of their variation in the seedlings describe the potential productivity and resistance of particular species to a deficiency in mineral nutrients and may characterize the adaptation type of the plants.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 10, 2004
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