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Keywords:

  • allelochemical;
  • CAM;
  • C3, C4 metabolism;
  • retrieval;
  • rhizodeposition;
  • rhizosphere

Abstract

The aim of this work is to review the current knowledge on the effects of plant metabolism (C3, C4, and CAM) on root exudation and on the methods of exudate collection as well as the use of such exudates for analyses, testing of microbial response, degradation of pollutants, enzymatic activities, and occurrence of allelochemicals. We examine the advantages and disadvantages of each method as related to the downstream use of the exudates. The use of continuous percolation of solid cultivation medium with adjustment of nutrient-solution strength appears to be a promising methodology for the determination of root exudation rates and qualitative composition of exuded compounds. The method mimics rhizosphere conditions, minimizing the artificial accumulation of compounds, alteration of plasma-membrane permeability, ATPase activity, and the impacts of inhibitors or stimulators of root enzymes. Of particular significance is the fact that the adjustment of strength of nutrient solution and percolation enables universal and also long-term use of the method, allowing high exudation yield by minimizing influx and maximizing efflux rates of exuded compounds at high nutrient-solution strength. Furthermore, it facilitates assessment of the effect on soil microbial populations and their ability to degrade pollutants. Enzymatic activities can be assessed when a low strength of nutrient solution is used, with percolation of the exudates directly into tested soils. Composition of root exudates, regulation of root enzymes, and plant response to nutrient deficiency can be assessed by measuring net efflux or influx rates. The impact of heavy metals and other type of mechanical, chemical, and biological stresses differs according to the type of plant metabolism. This has significant consequences on transformations in plant communities, both structurally and functionally, and impacts upon crop nutrition, with respect to global climate change, and the use of plants for phytoremediation purposes. Understanding the effects of different types of plant metabolism on root exudation with respect to genetic regulation of synthetic pathways through root enzymes and transport systems presents an important direction for future research.