Increasing attention is being focused on the influence of rapid increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration on nutrient cycling in ecosystems. An understanding of how elevated CO2 affects plant utilization and acquisition of phosphorus ( P ) will be critical for P management to maintain ecosystem sustainability in P-deficient regions.
Jin et al. review possible mechanisms by which elevated CO2 might affect plant P acquisition and conclude that there will be increasing selection pressure for P-acquisition efficiency in a high-carbon environment by plants and plant–microbe associations. Plants will utilize and exploit the increased carbon flow to their roots to more efficiently mobilize and/or forage for labile P forms in the soil. The mechanisms for this selection might include the development of longer roots, more lateral roots and root hairs, changes in the quantity and composition of root exudates, and changes in the activities and/or functions of microbes and plant–microbe associations.
This article appears in the special issue Plants and Climate Change.