Simulating infertile acid soils with nutrient solutions: The effects on Brachiaria species
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Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/44098
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Aluminum toxicity limits plant growth in acid soils. Because of their advanced state of weathering, acid soils of the tropics also tend to be deficient in nutrients. A realistic assessment of plant adaptation to these soils would therefore require Al-toxic conditions under which growth is simultaneously limited by nutrient deficiency. We developed and tested a nutrient solution for this purpose. We analyzed soil solutions of two Oxisols from the Colombian savannas. Nutrient concentrations were extremely low (ionic strength <1.7 mM). Nitrification during incubation of soil samples acidified soil solutions, resulting in a release of cations from the exchange phase, an increase in the activity of Al3+, and a decrease in that of H2PO-4. Predicted ion activities were taken as guidelines for designing a nutrient solution that simulates these soil solutions. Growth of well-adapted signalgrass (Brachiaria decumbens cv. Basilisk) and less-adapted ruzigrass (Brachiaria ruziziensis cv. Common) in this solution mirrored the interspecific difference in forage yield that had previously been observed in a field close to where one of the soils originated. This suggests that the designed solution may be a realistic approximation to chemical soil properties that limit forage productivity. The different growth response of the two grasses was apparently due to increased Al sensitivity of less-adapted ruzigrass under low nutrient supply; neither Al toxicity nor nutrient deficiency alone resulted in a comparable growth difference between the grasses. These data highlight the importance of taking into account interactions among stress factors that occur in parallel in infertile acid soils.
CGIAR Author ORCID iDs
Idupulapati M. Raohttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8381-9358
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