Phosphorus Uptake by Pigeon Pea and Its Role in Cropping Systems of the Indian Subcontinent

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Science  27 Apr 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4954, pp. 477-480
DOI: 10.1126/science.248.4954.477


Pigeon pea was shown to be more efficient at utilizing iron-bound phosphorus (Fe-P) than several other crop species. This ability is attributed to root exudates, in particular piscidic acid and its p-O-methyl derivative, which release phosphorus from Fe-P by chelating Fe3+. Pigeon pea is normally intercropped with cereals under low-input conditions in the Indian subcontinent. Although pigeon pea can utilize the relatively insoluble Fe-P, intercropped cereals must rely on the more soluble calcium-bound phosphorus. This finding suggests that cultivation of pigeon pea increases total phosphorus availability in cropping systems with low available phosphorus.

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