One important adaptation of plants to Phosphorus (P) deficiency is to alter root system architecture (RSA) to increase P acquisition from the soil, but soil-based observations of RSA are technically challenging, especially in mature plants.
Pan et al. developed a new large Brassica-rhizotron system to study RSA dynamics of B. napus in soils at low and high P. RSA parameters measured in polycarbonate plate roots were empirically consistent with analyses of excavated roots. Given that root senescence is likely to occur earlier at low P, crop P deficiency is likely to affect late water and nitrogen uptake.
Jatropha curcas could be an oil crop with major biofuel potential, but the breeding germplasm has little variation. Botanists have found that there is genetic potential in previously overlooked non-toxic jatropha, but it needs conservation.
What is it that makes a plant get up and stay up? A new review looks at the creation of secondary cell walls. These microscopic features are the key to understanding the architecture of the plants we see around us.
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