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A meta-analysis of crop response patterns to nitrogen limitation for improved model representation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3632-9102
2019 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 14, no 10, p. e0223508-e0223508Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The representation of carbon-nitrogen (N) interactions in global models of the natural or managed land surface remains an important knowledge gap. To improve global process-based models we require a better understanding of how N limitation affects photosynthesis and plant growth. Here we present the findings of a meta-analysis to quantitatively assess the impact of N limitation on source (photosynthate production) versus sink (photosynthate use) activity, based on 77 highly controlled experimental N availability studies on 11 crop species. Using meta-regressions, we find that it can be insufficient to represent N limitation in models merely as inhibiting carbon assimilation, because in crops complete N limitation more strongly influences leaf area expansion (-50%) than photosynthesis (-34%), while leaf starch is accumulating (+83%). Our analysis thus offers support for the hypothesis of sink limitation of photosynthesis and encourages the exploration of more sink-driven crop modelling approaches. We also show that leaf N concentration changes with N availability and that the allocation of N to Rubisco is reduced more strongly compared to other photosynthetic proteins at low N availability. Furthermore, our results suggest that different crop species show generally similar response patterns to N limitation, with the exception of leguminous crops, which respond differently. Our meta-analysis offers lessons for the improved depiction of N limitation in global terrestrial ecosystem models, as well as highlights knowledge gaps that need to be filled by future experimental studies on crop N limitation response.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public Library of Science , 2019. Vol. 14, no 10, p. e0223508-e0223508
National Category
Botany
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-397697DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223508OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-397697DiVA, id: diva2:1372393
Note

31622350[pmid]; PMC6797162[pmcid]; PONE-D-19-13317[PII]

Available from: 2019-11-22 Created: 2019-11-22 Last updated: 2019-11-22

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Publisher's full texthttps://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0223508

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Granath, Gustaf

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