Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 1–9 | Cite as

Effects of shoot excision on in situ soil and root respiration of wheat and soybean under drought stress

  • Hong-Sheng Liu
  • Feng-Min Li
Original Paper


Little information is available about the variability of root-derived respiration rate in relation to biotic factors such as photosynthesis and substrate availability in roots. Here we examine the role of decreased carbohydrates availability on root-derived respiration through removal of above ground biomass. Spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Longchun 8139) and soybean (Glycina max L. cv. Tianchan 2) were grown in the field under a moveable rain shelter, and subjected to three different water regimes: (1) well-watered control; (2) moderate drought stress, and (3) severe drought stress. Root-derived respiration before and after shoot clipping, and the concentration of total nonstructural carbohydrate, malic and citric acid were measured for spring wheat and soybean. Root-derived CO2 flux and total nonstructural carbohydrate concentration of clipped wheat decreased by 38% and 31%, respectively. However, for soybean the root- derived CO2 flux and total nonstructural carbohydrate concentrations were only 58% and 62% of control, respectively, indicating the root respiration rate was controlled by the availability of carbon in the root. A significant positive correlation between total nonstructural carbohydrate concentration of the root and soil water content was observed in unclipped plants. Total nonstructural carbohydrate contributed 93% of the variance in root-derived respiration. Our results clearly show, that in the field, the availability of carbon substrate in roots determines root-derived respiration and plays a key link between soil moisture and root-derived respiration. A period of time is needed for root respiration to return to “steady-state” after shoot removal and this period needed is strongly dependent on species and soil water content.


Carbon substrate Clipping Drought stress Root respiration 


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We would like to thank Professor Gao Ming Jiang and Miss Erin Passmore for reviewing this manuscript. This research was financially supported by the National Key Basic Research Support Foundation of China (NKBRSF, No. G200018603) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 39970148 and No. 30500067).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of BotanyThe Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.The State Key Laboratory of Arid AgroecologyLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming, Institute of Soil Erosion and Water ConservationChinese Academy of SciencesShanxiChina

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