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Title: Plant roots release phospholipid surfactants that modify the physical and chemical properties of soil
Contributor(s): Read, D B (author); Bengough, A G (author); Gregory, P J (author); Crawford, J W (author); Robinson, D (author); Scrimgeour, C M (author); Young, Iain (author); Zhang, K (author); Zhang, Z (author)
Publication Date: 2003
DOI: 10.1046/j.1469-8137.2003.00665.x
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Abstract: • Plant root mucilages contain powerful surfactants that will alter the interaction of soil solids with water and ions, and the rates of microbial processes. • The lipid composition of maize, lupin and wheat root mucilages was analysed by thin layer chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. A commercially available phosphatidylcholine (lecithin), chemically similar to the phospholipid surfactants identified in the mucilages, was then used to evaluate its effects on selected soil properties. • The lipids found in the mucilages were principally phosphatidylcholines, composed mainly of saturated fatty acids, in contrast to the lipids extracted from root tissues. In soil at low tension, lecithin reduced the water content at any particular tension by as much as 10 and 50% in soil and acid-washed sand, respectively. Lecithin decreased the amount of phosphate adsorption in soil and increased the phosphate concentration in solution by 10%. The surfactant also reduced net rates of ammonium consumption and nitrate production in soil. • These experiments provide the first evidence we are aware of that plant-released surfactants will significantly modify the biophysical environment of the rhizosphere.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: New Phytologist, 157(2), p. 315-326
Publisher: Academic Press
Place of Publication: London, United Kingdom
ISSN: 1469-8137
Field of Research (FOR): 050303 Soil Biology
060208 Terrestrial Ecology
050399 Soil Sciences not elsewhere classified
050305 Soil Physics
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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