|Holz, M; Zarebanadkouki, M; Carminati, A; Becker, JN; Spohn, M: The effect of root hairs on rhizosphere phosphatase activity, Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 183, 382-388 (2020), doi:10.1002/jpln.201900426|
Background: Phosphatases in soil are of great importance for plant P acquisition. It is hypothesized that root hairs increase rhizosphere phosphatase activity as they release enzymes into soil and stimulate microbial activity. Methods: To test the effect of root hairs on soil phosphatase activity, we grew barley (Hordeum vulgare ‘Pallas’) wild type and its root-hairless mutant in rhizoboxes and determined phosphatase activity using soil zymography. Measurements were done at three moisture levels (30, 15, and 5% VWC). Rhizosphere phosphatase activity was estimated for the two genotypes and two locations along the root [root tip region (0–4 cm behind tip) and mature roots (> 7 cm behind tip)]. Results: Rhizosphere phosphatase activity was similar in the two locations along the root (root tip region vs. mature root parts). In contrast, rhizosphere phosphatase extension was two times larger for the root tip region of the wild type than for the mutant at 30% and 15% VWC. However, as phosphatase activities at the root surface of tips and mature root parts were slightly higher for the mutant than for the wild type, average enzyme activities were unaffected by the genotype. Conclusions: We conclude that the mutant seems to compensate for the lack of root hairs by increased phosphatase activity close to the root surface. However, the increased rhizosphere phosphatase extension for the wild type may be equally efficient as it allows P mobilization and uptake from large soil volumes.