Combining multiple high-resolution in situ techniques to understand phosphorous availability around rice roots

Wen Fang, Paul N. Williams, Hao Zhang, Yi Yang, Daixia Yin, Zhaodong Liu, Haitao Sun, Jun Luo

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Resolving chemical/biological drivers of P behavior around lowland/flooded rice roots remains a challenge because of the heterogeneity of the plant–soil interactions, compounded by sampling and analytical constraints. High-spatial-resolution (sub-mm) visualization enables these processes to be isolated, characterized, and deciphered. Here, three advanced soil imaging systems, diffusive gradients in thin-film technique coupled with laser ablation-ICPMS (DGT-LA-ICPMS), O2 planar optode, and soil zymography, were integrated. This trio of approaches was then applied to a rice life cycle study to quantify solute-P supply, through two dimensions, in situ, and low-disturbance high-resolution (HR) chemical imaging. This allowed mechanisms of P release to be delineated by O2, Fe, and phosphatase activity mapping at the same scale. HR-DGT revealed P depletion around both living and dead rice roots but with highly spatially variable Fe/P ratios (∼0.2–12.0) which aligned with changing redox conditions and root activities. Partnering of HR-DGT and soil zymography revealed concurrent P depletion and phosphatase hotspots in the rhizosphere and detritusphere zones (Mantel: 0.610–0.810, p < 0.01). This close affinity between these responses (Pearson correlation: −0.265 to −0.660, p < 0.01) cross-validates the measurements and reaffirms that P depletion stimulates phosphatase activity and Porg mineralization. The μ-scale biogeochemical landscape of rice rhizospheres and detritusphere, as documented here, needs greater consideration when implementing interventions to improve sustainable P nutrition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13082–13092
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number19
Early online date23 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 05 Oct 2021


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