Phosphorus acquisition strategy of Vallisneria natans in sediment based on in situ imaging techniques

Yi Zhang, Cai Li, Qin Sun, Cuiling Jiang, Shiming Ding, Musong Chen, Xin Ma, Zhilin Zhong, Yan Wang, Daniel C.W. Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Phosphorus (P) availability is closely related to the distributions of pH, O2 and phosphatase activities in the rhizosphere of plants growing in soils and sediments. In this study, the P uptake processes and mechanisms of Vallisneria natans (V. natans) during two vegetation periods (i.e., week three and six) were revealed using three noninvasive 2D imaging techniques: planar optode (PO), diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) and zymography. The results showed that increased phosphatase activity, O2 concentration and root-induced acidification were observed together in the rhizosphere of root segments and tips. In week three, when V. natans was young, the flux of DGT-labile P accumulated more in the rhizosphere in comparison with the bulk sediment. This was because increased phosphatase activity (of up to 35%) and root-induced acidification (with pH decreasing by up to 0.25) enhanced P acquisition of V. natans by the third week. However, the flux of DGT-labile P turned to depletion during weeks three to six of V. natans growth, after Fe plaque formed at the matured stage. The constant hydrolysis of phosphatase and acidification could not compensate for the P demand of the roots by the sixth week. At this stage, Fe plaque become the P pool, due to P fixation with solid Fe(III) hydroxides. Subsequently, V. natans roots acquired P from Fe plaque via organic acid complexation of Fe(III).

Original languageEnglish
Article number111635
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • DGT
  • Phosphorus acquisition
  • PO
  • Rhizosphere
  • V. natans
  • Zymography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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