Physiology and Metabolism of Phosphate and Its Compounds

  • R. L. Bieleski
  • I. B. Ferguson
Part of the Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology book series (PLANT, volume 15)


The distribution of phosphorus1 in the world, unlike that of all other elements but carbon, is dominated by the present and past activities of living organisms. Thus it was first isolated as an element from that preeminently biological fluid, urine, by the Arabian alchemists in the 12th century and then by H. Brand in 1669; while the next source to be discovered was bone, in 1770 (Corbridge 1978). It is widely distributed in the Earth’s crust, where it comprises 0.1% by weight of the elements present. Igneous deposits are known, but most of the phosphate used by man has been formed either as guano and its end-product, phosphatized coral, or as sedimentary deposits laid down under marine conditions in a combination of biological and physicochemical processes. In each case, the key event in formation of the deposit has been the ability of living organisms to scavenge phosphate from their surroundings, so that the concentration within the organism is increased one thousand fold or more (see Sect. 2). With guano-based products, phosphate has passed through a long food chain (marine microorganism → crustacean → fish → sea bird) and has finally been drawn into one place as excreta and as fish and bird remains.


Phytic Acid Turnover Time Phosphate Uptake Phosphate Ester Phosphatidyl Glycerol 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abdelkader AB (1968) La lipogenèse dans le tubercule de pomme de terre (Solanum tuberosum L.). 1. Analyse et biosynthèse des lipides dans le parenchyme central. Influence de la “survie” (ageing) de rondelles de parenchyme sur cette biosynthèse. Physiol Veg 6: 417–442Google Scholar
  2. Abdelkader AB, Mazliak P (1970) Echanges de lipides entre mitochondries, microsomes et surnageant cytoplasmique de cellules de pomme de terre ou de chou–fleur. Eur J Biochem 15: 250–262PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Asher CJ, Loneragan JF (1967) Responses of plants to phosphate concentration in solution culture: I. Growth and phosphorus content. Soil Sei 103: 225–233Google Scholar
  4. Ashworth EN, St John JB, Christiansen MN, Patterson GW (1981) Characterization of the phospholipid composition of wheat roots using high–performance liquid chromatography. J Agric Food Chem 29: 879–881CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barber SA, Walker JM, Vasey EH (1963) Mechanisms for the movement of plant nutrients from the soil and fertilizer to the plant root. J Agric Food Chem 11: 204–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barker J, Isherwood FA, Jakes R, Solomos T, Younis ME (1962) Determination of certain phosphate compounds in plant extracts. Nature 196: 1115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barrier GE, Loomis WE (1957) Absorption and translocation of 2,4–dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and P32 by leaves. Plant Physiol 32: 225–231PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bassham J A, Kirk M, Jensen RG (1968) Photosynthesis by isolated chloroplasts. I. Diffusion of labelled photosynthetic intermediates between isolated chloroplasts and suspending medium. Biochim Biophys Acta 153: 211–218Google Scholar
  9. Beever RE, Burns DJW (1976) Microorganisms and the phosphorus cycle: some physiological considerations. In: Blair GJ (ed) Prospects for improving efficiency of phosphorus utilization. Reviews in rural science, vol III. Univ New England, ArmidaleGoogle Scholar
  10. Beever RE, Burns DJW (1977) Adaptive changes in phosphate uptake by the fungus Neurospora crassa in response to phosphate supply. J Bacteriol 132: 520–525PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Beever RE, Burns DJW (1980) Phosphate uptake, storage and utilization by fungi. Adv Bot Res 8: 127–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Biddulph O, Biddulph S, Cory R, Koontz H (1958) Circulation patterns for phosphorus, sulfur and calcium in the bean plant. Plant Physiol 33: 293–300PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bieleski RL (1968 a) Levels of phosphate esters in Spirodela Plant Physiol 43:1297–1308Google Scholar
  14. Bieleski RL (1968 b) Effect of phosphorus deficiency on levels of phosphorus compounds in Spirodela Plant Physiol 43:1309–1316Google Scholar
  15. Bieleski RL (1969) Phosphorus compounds in translocating phloem. Plant Physiol 44: 497–502PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bieleski RL (1972) Turnover of phospholipids in normal and phosphorus–deficient Spirodela. Plant Physiol 49: 740–745PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Bieleski RL (1973) Phosphate pools, phosphate transport, and phosphate availability. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 24: 225–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Bieleski RL (1976) Passage of phosphate from soil to plant. In: Blair GJ (ed) Prospects for improving efficiency of phosphorus utilization. Reviews in rural science, vol III. Univ New England, ArmidaleGoogle Scholar
  19. Bieleski RL, Johnson PN (1972) The external location of phosphatase activity in phosphorus– deficient Spirodela oligorrhiza. Aust J Biol Sci 25: 707–720Google Scholar
  20. Bieleski RL, Laties GG (1963) Turnover rates of phosphate esters in fresh and aged slices of potato tuber tissue. Plant Physiol 38: 586–594PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Borst P (1972) Mitochondrial nucleic acids. Annu Rev Biochem 41: 333–376PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Bowling DJF, Dunlop J (1978) Uptake of phosphate by white clover. I. Evidence for an electrogenic phosphate pump. J Exp Bot 29: 1139–1146Google Scholar
  23. Burns DJW, Beever RE (1977) Kinetic characterization of the two phosphate uptake systems in the fungus Neurospora crassa. J Bacteriol 132: 511–519PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Burns DJW, Beever RE (1979) Mechanisms controlling the two phosphate uptake systems in Neurospora crassa. J Bacteriol 139: 195–204PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Carter OG, Lathwell DJ (1967) Effects of temperature on orthophosphate absorption by excised corn roots. Plant Physiol 42: 1407–1412PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Chalmers DJ, Rowan KS (1971) The climacteric in ripening tomato fruit. Plant Physiol 48: 235–240PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Chapin FS, Bieleski RL (1982) Mild phosphorus stress in barley and a related lowphosphorus– adapted barleygrass: phosphorus fractions and phosphate absorption in relation to growth. Physiol Plant 54: 309–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Cole CV, Elliott ET, Hunt HW, Coleman DC (1978) Trophic interactions in soils as they affect energy and nutrient dynamics. V. Phosphorus transformations. Microb Ecol 4: 381–387Google Scholar
  29. Coleman RG, Specht RL (1981) Mineral nutrition of heathlands: The possible role of polyphosphate in the phosphorus economy of heathland species. In: Specht RL (ed)Google Scholar
  30. Ecosystems of the world, vol 9B. Heathlands and related shrublands. Analytical studies. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  31. Collins JC, Reilly EJ (1968) Chemical composition of the exudate from, excised maize roots. Planta 83: 218–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Cooke JG (1981) Pollution from our pastures. Soil Water 17: 13–15Google Scholar
  33. Corbridge DEC (1978) Phosphorus. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  34. Cox G, Moran KJ, Sanders F, Nockolds C, Tinker PB (1980) Translocation and transfer of nutrients in vesicular–arbuscular mycorrhizas. III. Polyphosphate granules and phosphorus translocation. New Phytol 84: 649–659Google Scholar
  35. Donaldson RP, Beevers H (1977) Lipid composition of organelles from germinating castor bean endosperm. Plant Physiol 59: 259–263PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Donaldson RP, Tolbert NE, Schnarrenberger C (1972) A comparison of microbody membranes with microsomes and mitochondria from plant and animal tissue. Arch Biochem Biophys 152: 199–215PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Dunlop J, Bowling DJF (1971) The movement of ions to the xylem exudate of maize roots. I. Profiles of membrane potential and vacuolar potassium activity across the root. J Exp Bot 22: 434–444Google Scholar
  38. Emmert FH (1959) Loss of phosphorus–32 by plant roots after foliar application. Plant Physiol 34: 449–454PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Epstein E (1972) Mineral nutrition of plants. Principles and perspectives. Wiley and Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  40. Falk RH, Stocking CR (1976) Plant membranes. In: Stocking CR, Heber U (eds) Transport in plants III Encyclopaedia of plant physiology new ser, vol 3. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  41. Ferguson AR, Eiseman JA (1983) Estimated annual removal of macronutrients in fruit and prunings from a kiwifruit orchard. NZJ Agric Res 26: 115–117Google Scholar
  42. Ferguson AR, Eiseman JA, Leonard JA (1983) Xylem sap from Actinidia chinensis seasonal changes in composition. Ann Bot (in press)Google Scholar
  43. Ferguson IB, Bollard EG (1976) The movement of calcium in germinating pea seeds. Ann Bot 40: 1047–1055Google Scholar
  44. Ferguson IB, Clarkson DT (1975) Ion transport and endodermal suberization in the roots of Zea mays. New Phytol 75: 69–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ferguson IB, Clarkson DT (1976) Ion uptake in relation to the development of a root hypodermis. New Phytol 77: 11–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Fliege R, Flügge U–I, Werdan K, Heidt HW (1978) Specific transport of inorganic phosphate, 3–phosphoglycerate, and triosephosphates across the inner membrane of the envelope in spinach chloroplasts. Biochim Biophys Acta 502: 232–247PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Gilchrist AN, Gillingham AG (1970) Phosphate movement in surface run–off water. NZ J Agric Res 13: 225–231Google Scholar
  48. Gould WD, Coleman DC, Rubenk AJ (1979) Effect of bacteria and amoebae on rhizosphere phosphatase activity. Appl Environ Microbiol 37: 943–946PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Greenway H, Gunn A (1966) Phosphorus retranslocation in Hordeum vulgare during early tillering. Planta 71: 43–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Greenway H, Klepper B (1968) Phosphorus transport to the xylem and its regulation by water flow. Planta 83: 119–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Groves RH (1981) Nutrient cycling in heathlands. In: Specht RL (ed) Ecosystems of the world, vol 9B. Heathlands and related shrublands. Analytical studies. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  52. Guardiola JL, Sutcliffe JF (1971) Mobilisation of phosphorus in the cotyledons of young seedlings of the garden pea (Pisum sativum L.). Ann Bot 35: 809–823Google Scholar
  53. Hagen CE, Hopkins HT (1955) Ionic species in orthophosphate absorption by barley roots. Plant Physiol 30: 193–199PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Harold FM (1966) Inorganic polyphosphates in biology: structure, metabolism and function. Bacteriol Rev 30: 772–794PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Harvey HW (1969) The chemistry and fertility of sea waters. Cambridge Univ Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  56. Healy WB, McColl RHS (1974) Clay particles as sources of phosphorus for Lemna and their role in eutrophication. NZJ Sei 17: 409–420Google Scholar
  57. Hevesy G (1946) Interaction between phosphorus atoms of the wheat seedling and the nutrient solution. Ark Bot 33: 1–16Google Scholar
  58. Johnson EJ, Bruff BS (1967) Chloroplast integrity and ATP–dependent C02 fixation in Spinacia oleracea. Plant Physiol 42: 1321–1328PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Jung C, Rothstein A (1965) Arsenate uptake and release in relation to the inhibition of transport and glucolysis in yeast. Biochem Pharmacol 14: 1093–1112PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Kluge M, Becker D, Ziegler H (1970) Untersuchungen über ATP und andere organische Phosphorverbindungen im Siebröhrensaft von Yucca flaccida und Salix triandra. Planta 91: 68–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Knypl JS (1978) Reversal of the symptoms of phosphate deficiency in Spirodela by RNA and adenosine monophosphates. Z Pflanzenphysiol 90: 265–277Google Scholar
  62. Kuhl A (1960) Die Biologie der kondensierten organischen Phosphate. Ergeb Biol 23: 144–186Google Scholar
  63. Kulaev IS (1979) The biochemistry of inorganic polyphosphates. Wiley, Chichester New York Brisbane TorontoGoogle Scholar
  64. Kung S–D (1977) Expression of chloroplast genomes in higher plants. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 28: 401–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Kunishi HM, Taylor AW, Heald WR, Gburek WJ, Weaver RM (1972) Phosphate movement from an agricultural watershed during two rainfall periods. J Agric Food Chem 20: 900–905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Leggett JE, Galloway RA, Gauch HG (1965) Calcium activation of orthophosphate absorption by barley roots. Plant Physiol 40: 897–902PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Liu T–TY, Shannon JC (1981) Measurement of metabolites associated with nonaqueously isolated starch granules from immature Zea mays L. endosperm. Plant Physiol 67: 525–529PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Loening UE, Ingle J (1967) Diversity of RNA components in green plant tissues. Nature 215: 363–367PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Loughman BC (1960) Uptake and utilization of phosphate associated with respiratory changes in potato tuber slices. Plant Physiol 35: 418–424PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. MacRobbie EAC (1971) Fluxes and compartmentation in plant cells. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 22: 75–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Makower RU (1969) Changes in phytic acid and acid–soluble phosphorus in maturing pinto beans. J Sei Food Agric 20: 82–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Marsh BB (1959) The estimation of inorganic phosphate in the presence of adenosine triphosphate. Biochim Biophys Acta 32: 357–361PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Marx C, Dexheimer J, Gianinazzi–Pearson V, Gianinazzi S (1982) Enzymatic studies on the metabolism of vesicular–arbuscular mycorrhizas. IV. Ultracytoenzymological evidence ( ATPase) for active transfer processes in the host–arbuscle interface. New Phytol 90: 37–43Google Scholar
  74. Matheson NK, Strother S (1969) The utilization of phytate by germinating wheat. Phytochemistry 8: 1349–1356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Matile Ph (1978) Biochemistry and function of vacuoles. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 29: 193–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Matile Ph, Wiemken A (1976) Interactions between cytoplasm and vacuole. In: Stocking CR, Heber U (eds) Transport in plants III. Encyclopaedia of plant physiology new ser, vol 3. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  77. Mazel YT, Fokin AD (1977) Excretion of ions by roots of plants. Sov Plant Physiol 24: 805–810Google Scholar
  78. Mazliak P (1973) Lipid metabolism in plants. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 24: 287–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. McColl RHS, White E, Waugh JR (1975) Chemical run–off in catchments converted to agricultural use. NZJ Sei 18: 67–84Google Scholar
  80. McPharlin IR (1981) Phosphorus transport and phosphorus nutrition in Lemna (Lemna major L.) and Spirodela (Spirodela oligorrhiza (Kurz.) Hegelm.). Ph D thesis, Univ Auckland, NZGoogle Scholar
  81. Mourioux G, Douce R (1981) Slow passive diffusion of orthophosphate between intact isolated chloroplasts and suspending medium. Plant Physiol 67: 470–473PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Mukherji S, Dey B, Paul AK, Sircar SM (1971) Changes in phosphorus fractions and phytase activity of rice seeds during germination. Physiol Plant 25: 94–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Ongun A, Thomson WW, Mudd JB (1968) Lipid composition of chloroplasts isolated by aqueous and nonaqueous techniques. J Lipid Res 9: 409–415PubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. Pitman MG (1977) Ion transport into the xylem. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 28: 71–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Pradet A, Raymond P (1982) Adenylate energy charge, an indicator of energy metabolism. In: Physiology and biochemistry of plant respiration. Palmer JM (ed) Soc Exp Biol. Cambridge Univ Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  86. Raven JA (1974 a) Phosphate transport in Hydrodictyon africanum New Phytol 73:421–432Google Scholar
  87. Raven JA (1974 b) Energetics of active phosphate influx in Hydrodictyon africanum J Exp Bot 25:221–229Google Scholar
  88. Reisenauer HM (1966) Mineral nutrients in soil solution. In: Altman PL, Dittmer DS (eds) Environmental biology. Fed Am Soc Exp Biol, BethesdaGoogle Scholar
  89. Ridge EH, Rovira AD (1971) Phosphatase activity of intact young wheat roots under sterile and non–sterile conditions. New Phytol 70: 1017–1026CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Roberts JKM, Ray PM, Wade–Jardetzky N, Jardetzky O (1980) Estimation of cytoplasmic and vacuolar pH in higher plant cells by 31P NMR. Nature 283: 870–872Google Scholar
  91. Rowan KS (1966) Phosphorus metabolism in plants. Int Rev Cytol 19:301–390 Sager R, Ishida MR (1963) Chloroplast DNA in Chlamydomonas. Proc Natl Acad Sei USA 50: 725–730Google Scholar
  92. Samotus B, Schwimmer S (1962) Phytic acid as a phosphorus reservoir in the developing potato tuber. Nature 194: 578–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Santarius KA, Heber U (1965) Changes in intracellular levels of ATP, ADP, AMP, and Pi and regulatory function of the adenylate system in leaf cells during photosynthesis. Biochim Biophys Acta 102: 39–54Google Scholar
  94. Smith FA (1966) Active phosphate uptake by Nitella translucens. Biochim Biophys Acta 126: 94–99PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Sugino Y, Miyoshi Y (1964) The specific precipitation of orthophosphate and some biological applications. J Biol Chem 239: 2360–2364PubMedGoogle Scholar
  96. Tsuji H (1964) Acid–soluble phosphate ester contents of developing rice and oat shoots. Bot Mag 77: 247–252Google Scholar
  97. Ullrich W, Urbach W, Santarius KA, Heber U (1965) Die Verteilung des Orthophosphates auf Piastiden, Cytoplasma und Vacuole in der Blattzelle und ihre Veränderung im Licht–Dunkel–Wechsel. Z Naturforsch 20B: 905–910Google Scholar
  98. Ullrich–Eberius CI, Novacky A, Fischer E, Lüttge U (1981) Relationship between energydependent phosphate uptake and the electrical membrane potential in Lemna gibba G 1. Plant Physiol 67: 797–801PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Walker DA (1976) Plastids and intracellular transport. In: Stocking CR, Heber U (eds) Transport in plants III. Encyclopaedia of plant physiology new ser, vol 3. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  100. Weigl J (1963) Die Bedeutung der energiereichen Phosphate bei der Ionenaufnahme durch Wurzeln. Planta 60: 307–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Weigl J (1968) Austauschmechanismus des Ionentransports in Pflanzen am Beispiel des Phosphat– und Chlorid transports bei Maiswurzeln. Planta 79: 197–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Weste JE, Rowan KS, Chalmers DJ (1974) The distribution of phosphorus–containing compounds in tomato plants during the development of phosphorus deficiency. In: Bieleski RL, Ferguson AR, CresswelL MM (eds) Mechanisms of regulation of plant growth. Bull 12. R Soc NZ, WellingtonGoogle Scholar
  103. Wiskich JT (1977) Mitochondrial metabolite transport. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 28: 45–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Woodrow IE, Rowan KS (1979) Change of flux of orthophosphate between cellular compartments in ripening tomato fruits in relation to the climacteric rise in respiration. Aust J Plant Physiol 6: 39–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin-Heidelberg 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. L. Bieleski
  • I. B. Ferguson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations