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Loblolly pine, Trees -- Nutrition, Trees -- Effect of minerals on, Plant-soil relationships, Forest ecology


Most measurements of nutrient uptake use either hydroponic systems or soil-grown roots that have been disturbed by excavation. The first objective of this study was to test how root excavation affects nitrate uptake. Rates of NO3− uptake by mycorrhizal loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) seedlings were measured in intact sand-filled columns, hydroponics, and disturbed sand-filled columns. Total nitrate uptake in intact sand-filled columns was higher than in disturbed columns, indicating that disturbance lowers uptake. Transferring plants from the sand-filled columns to hydroponics had little effect on NO3− uptake beyond delaying uptake for an hour. The second objective of this study was to determine whether NH4+, Ca2+, Mg2+ and K+ uptake could be studied using sand-filled columns, since previous studies had tested this method only for nitrate uptake. Uptake rates of NH4+ and K+ were positive, while Ca2+ and Mg2+ uptake rates were negative in intact sand-filled columns, indicating that net efflux may occur even without physical disturbance to the root system. The sand-filled column approach has some limitations, but holds promise for conducting nutrient uptake studies with minimal disturbance to the root system.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Environmental and Experimental Botany. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Environmental and Experimental Botany, [VOL 64, ISSUE 1, 2008] .

*At the time of publication Melissa Lucash was affiliated with State University of New York.



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