Enhancing phosphorus and zinc acquisition efficiency in rice: a critical review of root traits and their potential utility in rice breeding
Rose, TJ, Impa, SM, Rose, MT, Pariasca-Tanaka, J, Mori, A, Heuer, S, Johnson-Beebout, SE & Wissuwa, M 2013, 'Enhancing phosphorus and zinc acquisition efficiency in rice: a critical review of root traits and their potential utility in rice breeding', Annals of Botany, vol. 112, no. 3, pp. 331-345.
Background Rice is the world's most important cereal crop and phosphorus (P) and zinc (Zn) deficiency are major constraints to its production. Where fertilizer is applied to overcome these nutritional constraints it comes at substantial cost to farmers and the efficiency of fertilizer use is low. Breeding crops that are efficient at acquiring P and Zn from native soil reserves or fertilizer sources has been advocated as a cost-effective solution, but would benefit from knowledge of genes and mechanisms that confer enhanced uptake of these nutrients by roots.
Scope This review discusses root traits that have been linked to P and Zn uptake in rice, including traits that increase mobilization of P/Zn from soils, increase the volume of soil explored by roots or root surface area to recapture solubilized nutrients, enhance the rate of P/Zn uptake across the root membrane, and whole-plant traits that affect root growth and nutrient capture. In particular, this review focuses on the potential for these traits to be exploited through breeding programmes to produce nutrient-efficient crop cultivars.
Conclusions Few root traits have so far been used successfully in plant breeding for enhanced P and Zn uptake in rice or any other crop. Insufficient genotypic variation for traits or the failure to enhance nutrient uptake under realistic field conditions are likely reasons for the limited success. More emphasis is needed on field studies in mapping populations or association panels to identify those traits and underlying genes that are able to enhance nutrient acquisition beyond the level already present in most cultivars.