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Effect of phosphorus supply on root traits of two Brassica oleracea L. genotypes


Paula Pongrac

Hiram Castillo-Michel

J.R. Herrera

Robert D. Hancock

Mitja Kelemen

Jacqueline A. Thompson

Gladys Wright




Philip J. White


BACKGROUND: Phosphorus (P) deficiency limits crop production worldwide. Crops differ in their ability to acquire and utilise the P available. The aim of this study was to determine root traits (root exudates, root system architecture (RSA), tissue-specific allocation of P, and gene expression in roots) that (a) play a role in P-use efficiency and (b) contribute to large shoot zinc (Zn) concentration in Brassica oleracea. RESULTS: Two B. oleracea accessions (var. sabellica C6, a kale, and var. italica F103, a broccoli) were grown in a hydroponic system or in a high-throughput-root phenotyping (HTRP) system where they received Low P (0.025?mM) or High P (0.25?mM) supply for 2weeks. In hydroponics, root and shoot P and Zn concentrations were measured, root exudates were profiled using both Fourier-Transform-Infrared spectroscopy and gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry and previously published RNAseq data from roots was re-examined. In HTRP experiments, RSA (main and lateral root number and lateral root length) was assessed and the tissue-specific distribution of P was determined using micro-particle-induced-X-ray emission. The C6 accession had greater root and shoot biomass than the F103 accession, but the latter had a larger shoot P concentration than the C6 accession, regardless of the P supply in the hydroponic system. The F103 accession had a larger shoot Zn concentration than the C6 accession in the High P treatment. Although the F103 accession had a larger number of lateral roots, which were also longer than in the C6 accession, the C6 accession released a larger quantity and number of polar compounds than the F103 accession. A larger number of P-responsive genes were found in the Low P treatment in roots of the F103 accession than in roots of the C6 accession. Expression of genes linked with "phosphate starvation" was up-regulated, while those linked with iron homeostasis were down-regulated in the Low P treatment. CONCLUSIONS: The results illustrate large within-species variability in root acclimatory responses to P supply in the composition of root exudates, RSA and gene expression, but not in P distribution in root cross sections, enabling P sufficiency in the two B. oleracea accessions studied.


Pongrac, P., Castillo-Michel, H., Herrera, J., Hancock, R. D., Fischer, S., Kelemen, M., …White, P. J. (2020). Effect of phosphorus supply on root traits of two Brassica oleracea L. genotypes. BMC Plant Biology, 20, Article 368.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 26, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 5, 2020
Publication Date Aug 5, 2020
Deposit Date May 27, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 18, 2020
Journal BMC Plant Biology
Electronic ISSN 1471-2229
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Article Number 368
Keywords Plant Science
Public URL
Publisher URL


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