Root exudation from Hordeum vulgare in response to localized nitrate supply

Eric Paterson, Allan Sim, Dominic Benjamin Standing, Mairi Dorward, Allan James Stuart McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Citations (Scopus)


Root proliferation as a response to exploit zones of nutrient enrichment in soil has been demonstrated for a wide range of plant species. However, the effectiveness of this as a strategy to acquire nutrients is also dependent on interactions with the soil microbial community. Specifically, C-flow from roots modifies microbial activity and probably the balance between nutrient mineralization and immobilization processes in the rhizosphere. In this study, near-natural abundance C-13-labelling and gene-reporter methods were applied to determine the effects of uneven nitrate supply to roots of Hordeum vulgare on assimilate partitioning and root exudation. Plants were initially grown in uniform nitrate supply in split-root, sand microcosms after which one treatment continued to receive uniform supply, and the other received nitrate to one root compartment only. At the time of imposing the treatments, the CO2 supplied to the plants was switched to a cylinder source, providing a distinct delta C-13-signature and allowing the fate of new assimilate within the plants to be determined. The labelling approach allowed quantification of the expected preferential allocation of new C-assimilate to roots in enriched nitrate, prior to any measurable effect on whole biomass or root architecture. Biosensor (lux-marked Pseudomonas fluorescens 10586 pUCD607) bioluminescence, quantified spatially by CCD imaging, demonstrated that root exudation was significantly increased for roots in enriched nitrate. This response of root exudation, being primarily associated with root apices and concurrent with enhanced assimilate supply, strongly suggests that C-flow from roots is an integral component of the proliferation response to nitrate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2413-2420
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • biosensor reporting
  • carbon partitioning
  • C-13 labelling
  • Hordeum vulgare
  • nutrient patches
  • rhizodeposition
  • root exudation
  • root proliferation
  • carbon isotope discrimination
  • Zea mays
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens
  • lolium-perenne
  • compensatory increases
  • organic carbon
  • nitrogen
  • plants
  • rhizosphere
  • growth


Dive into the research topics of 'Root exudation from Hordeum vulgare in response to localized nitrate supply'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this