Plant and Soil

, Volume 372, Issue 1–2, pp 125–136 | Cite as

Assessing the contributions of lateral roots to element uptake in rice using an auxin-related lateral root mutant

  • Yu Liu
  • Erica Donner
  • Enzo Lombi
  • Renying Li
  • Zhongchang Wu
  • Fang-Jie Zhao
  • Ping Wu
Regular Article


Background and aims

The role of lateral roots in the acquisition of nutrients and contaminants from the soil may vary between mobile and immobile solutes. The aim of the present study was to quantify the contributions of lateral roots to growth and elemental uptake under different conditions.


A lateral rootless mutant of rice (Oryza sativa) with a gain-of-function mutation in OsIAA11 was compared with its wild-type (WT) in hydroponic, pot and field conditions. Three soils varying in the P availability were used in the pot experiment. Synchrotron fast X-ray fluorescence (XRF) was used to map the distribution of trace elements in fresh hydrated roots.


The Osiaa11 mutant grew smaller compared with the WT in all three experiments, especially in the field. The difference was larger in a P-sufficient soil than in P-deficient soils in the pot experiment. Elemental concentrations in the roots and shoots were affected differently by the mutation, depending on the elements and the growth media. The apparent contributions of lateral roots to elemental uptake varied from 2.7 to 82.5% in the hydroponic experiment, from −19.8 to 76.4% in the pot experiment, and from 30 to 76% in the field experiment. In general, the apparent contributions to the uptake of P, Mn, Zn, Cu and As were larger than that for the biomass, whereas for N, S and K the apparent contributions were smaller than or similar to the effect on plant biomass. Synchrotron XRF revealed strong accumulation of Mn, Zn, Cu, As and Se in the lateral roots of the WT.


Lateral roots play an important role in the acquisition of less mobile elements such as P, Mn, Zn, Cu and As, but have relatively small effects on the acquisition of mobile elements such as N, S and K.


Lateral roots OsIAA11 Auxin signalling pathway Nutrient uptake Rice 



This research was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China (grant number 2010DFA31080), the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD) and the 111 project (B12009). Part of this research was undertaken on the X-ray fluorescence microscopy beamline at the Australian Synchrotron, Victoria, Australia.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yu Liu
    • 1
  • Erica Donner
    • 2
  • Enzo Lombi
    • 2
  • Renying Li
    • 3
  • Zhongchang Wu
    • 1
  • Fang-Jie Zhao
    • 4
    • 5
  • Ping Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Plant Physiology and BiochemistryCollege of Life Science, Zhejiang UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and RemediationUniversity of South AustraliaMawson Lakes CampusAustralia
  3. 3.Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Agricultural MeteorologyNanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.College of Resources and Environmental SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.Rothamsted ResearchHertfordshireUK

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