- Top of page
- Mechanisms governing plant capacity to alter nutrient availability in the rhizosphere
- Manipulation of phosphorus availability in the rhizosphere
- Manipulation of manganese availability in the rhizosphere
- Breeding genotypes for greater nutrient efficiency
- Future work
Crop nutrition is frequently inadequate as a result of the expansion of cropping into marginal lands, elevated crop yields placing increasing demands on soil nutrient reserves, and environmental and economic concerns about applying fertilizers. Plants exposed to nutrient deficiency activate a range of mechanisms that result in increased nutrient availability in the rhizosphere compared with the bulk soil. Plants may change their root morphology, increase the affinity of nutrient transporters in the plasma membrane and exude organic compounds (carboxylates, phenolics, carbohydrates, enzymes, etc.) and protons. Chemical changes in the rhizosphere result in altered abundance and composition of microbial communities. Nutrient-efficient genotypes are adapted to environments with low nutrient availability. Nutrient efficiency can be enhanced by targeted breeding through pyramiding efficiency mechanisms in a desirable genotype as well as by gene transfer and manipulation. Rhizosphere microorganisms influence nutrient availability; adding beneficial microorganisms may result in enhanced availability of nutrients to crops. Understanding the role of plant–microbe–soil interactions in governing nutrient availability in the rhizosphere will enhance the economic and environmental sustainability of crop production.