Modelling nutrient uptake: a possible indicator of phosphorus deficiency
Mendham, DS and Smethurst, PJ and Moody, PW and Aitken, RL, Modelling nutrient uptake: a possible indicator of phosphorus deficiency, Australian Journal Soil Research, 35, (2) pp. 313-325. ISSN 0004-9573 (1997) [Refereed Article]
An understanding of the processes controlling soil nutrient supply and plant uptake has led to process-based models that can predict nutrient uptake and the concentration gradient that develops at the root surface. By using this information, it may be possible to develop an indicator of soil phosphorus status based on the predicted uptake and/or concentration of phosphorus (P) at the root surface. To identify the potential for such a test, the relationships between model output and observed plant growth were examined using data from a published experiment. The experiment was initially designed to investigate the relationship between common indices of soil-available P and the growth of maize (Zea mays) in 26 surface soils from Queensland. There was a high correlation between observed and predicted P uptake, and between relative dry matter yield and predicted P uptake. The predicted concentration of P at the root surface was also highly correlated with P uptake and dry weight increase. It is hypothesised that the short growth period (25 days) was responsible for the high correlation between P uptake and measured soil solution P. The hypothesis that a predicted concentration of P at the root surface or predicted P uptake may be valuable indicators of P deficiency in the longer term still remains to be tested.