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Amane Hidaka and Kanehiro Kitayama Relationship between photosynthetic phosphorus-use efficiency and foliar phosphorus fractions in tropical tree species Ecology and Evolution 3

Article first published online: 6 NOV 2013 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.861

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With decreasing phosphorus (P) availability, plants increase photosynthetic P-use efficiency (PPUE). In this study, we tested whether high PPUE is explained by an optimized allocation of P in cells among P-containing biochemical compounds (i.e., foliar P fractions) in 10 tree species in two tropical montane rain forests with differing soil P availability on Mount Kinabalu, Borneo. Our results show that high PPUE is explained by the net effect of a relatively greater investment of P into P-containing metabolites and a relatively lesser investment into phospholipids in addition to generally reduced concentrations of all P fractions and suggest that plants optimize the allocation of P among foliar P fractions for maintaining their productivity and growth (i.e., maintaining photosynthesis and enhancing PPUE) and for reducing demand for P (i.e., reducing total foliar P concentration) as their adaptation to P-poor soils.

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