, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 171–182 | Cite as

Magnesium deficiency affects secondary lignification of the vascular system in Citrus sinensis seedlings

  • Jing-Hao Huang
  • Jing Xu
  • Xin Ye
  • Tu-Yan Luo
  • Li-Hua Ren
  • Guo-Cheng Fan
  • Yi-Ping Qi
  • Qiang Li
  • Rhuanito S. Ferrarezi
  • Li-Song ChenEmail author
Original Article


Key message

Mg deficiency affected only the differentiation zone in Citrus sinensis roots. Phloem impairment in Mg-deficient leaves resulted in cell wall lignifications of both vascular cambium and spongy parenchyma cells. Decrease of Mg content in the roots hampered secondary lignification of endodermal and protoxylem cell walls.


Magnesium (Mg) is a vital nutrient for plant photosynthesis and biochemical reactions. Mg deficiency is a widespread problem in citrus production, directly affecting yield and quality. With the objective of investigating the relationship among root and leaf anatomy, photosynthetic efficiency and mineral nutrient uptake and transport in Mg-deficient citrus, the effects of Mg deficiency in ‘Xuegan’ (Citrus sinensis) seedlings on plant biomass, leaf gas exchange and chlorophyll, nutrient contents, root and leaf anatomy and lignin biosynthesis were studied. Mg deficiency decreased root and shoot dry weight, leaf CO2 assimilation, chlorophyll and Mg, phosphorus (P), boron (B), cupper (Cu) and iron (Fe) concentration in roots, stems and leaves, and increased potassium (K) and calcium (Ca) concentration. Mg deficiency in the leaves resulted in phloem disorder that blocked phloem transport, leading to carbohydrate accumulation in chloroplasts and secondary lignifications of both vascular cambium and spongy parenchyma cell walls. In contrast, decrease of Mg content in the roots hampered lignin deposition on the protoxylem and endodermal cell walls at the root differentiation zone. Poorly lignified Casparian strip and xylem cell walls in Mg-deficient root tips might decrease xylem loading efficiency of nutrients, lowering their contents in the above ground parts, which ultimately inhibited whole plant growth.


Cell wall Lignification Root and leaf anatomy Vascular cambium 



This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31572081), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFD0202004), the youth talent plan of Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (YC2016-3), Technology Innovation Foundation of FAAS (2016-PI37), China Agriculture Research System (CARS27), and Provincial Natural Science Foundation of Fujian, China (2016J01115 and 2016J01122).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

468_2018_1766_MOESM1_ESM.doc (289 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 289 KB)
468_2018_1766_MOESM2_ESM.doc (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 1140 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication on November 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing-Hao Huang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jing Xu
    • 1
  • Xin Ye
    • 1
  • Tu-Yan Luo
    • 3
  • Li-Hua Ren
    • 3
  • Guo-Cheng Fan
    • 2
  • Yi-Ping Qi
    • 4
  • Qiang Li
    • 1
  • Rhuanito S. Ferrarezi
    • 5
  • Li-Song Chen
    • 1
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Plant Nutritional Physiology and Molecular Biology, College of Resources and EnvironmentFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityFuzhouChina
  2. 2.Pomological InstituteFujian Academy of Agricultural SciencesFuzhouChina
  3. 3.Central LaboratoryFujian Academy of Agricultural SciencesFuzhouChina
  4. 4.Institute of Materia MedicaFujian Academy of Medical SciencesFuzhouChina
  5. 5.Indian River Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of FloridaFort PierceUSA
  6. 6.Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Soil Environmental Health and Regulation, College of Resources and EnvironmentFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityFuzhouChina
  7. 7.The Higher Educational Key Laboratory of Fujian Province for Soil Ecosystem Health and Regulation, College of Resources and EnvironmentFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityFuzhouChina

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