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Modelling of the responses to nitrogen availability of two Plantago species grown at a range of exponential nutrient addition rates


Correspondence and permanent address: Dr T. Hirose. Biological Institute, Faculty of Science, Tohoku University, Sendai 980, Japan.


Abstract.Plantago major ssp. major and P. lanceolata were grown in solution culture with exponential nutrient addition rates. Compared with P. lanceolata, P. major major showed a higher shoot weight ratio (SWR, fraction of plant dry weight in the shoot) and a higher net assimilation rate (NAR, expressed on a leaf dry weight basis) at equal plant (PNC) and shoot (SNC) nitrogen concentration, respectively. No difference was observed in shoot nitrogen ratio (SNR, fraction of plant nitrogen in the shoot) against PNC between the two species. The effect of these differences in matter partitioning and NAR on plant growth was examined by using a growth model. The model assumed (1) that the SWR and SNR are a linear function of PNC and (2) that the NAR is a rectangular hyperbolic function of SNC. Curvilinear relationships were observed between relative growth rate (RGR) and PNC. P. major major had a higher RGR at equal PNC and, thus, a higher nitrogen productivity (NP) than P. lanceolata. Steady-stale exponential growth was simulated for different nitrogen availability in the environment. P. major major had a higher RGR over the whole range of nitrogen availability but the difference attenuated with decreasing availability of nitrogen. The simulation also showed P. lanccolata having higher plasticity in the shoot/root ratio, which resulted from its higher variability in PNC.