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Effect of nitrogen fertilizer, root branch order and temperature on respiration and tissue N concentration of fine roots in Larix gmelinii and Fraxinus mandshurica



Effect of nitrogen fertilizer, root branch order and temperature on respiration and tissue N concentration of fine roots in Larix gmelinii and Fraxinus mandshurica



Tree Physiology 31(7): 718-726



Root respiration is closely related to root morphology, yet it is unclear precisely how to distinguish respiration-related root physiological functions within the branching fine root system. Root respiration and tissue N concentration were examined for different N fertilization treatments, sampling dates, branch orders and temperatures of larch (Larix gmelinii L.) and ash (Fraxinus mandshurica L.) using the excised roots method. The results showed that N fertilization enhanced both root respiration and tissue N concentration for all five branch orders. The greatest increases in average root respiration for N fertilization treatment were 13.30% in larch and 18.25% in ash at 6°C. However, N fertilization did not change the seasonal dynamics of root respiration. Both root respiration and root tissue N concentration decreased with increase in root branch order. First-order (finest) roots exhibited the highest respiration rates and tissue N concentrations out of the five root branch orders examined. There was a highly significant linear relationship between fine root N concentration and root respiration rate. Root N concentration explained >60% of the variation in respiration rate at any given combination of root order and temperature. Root respiration showed a classical exponential relationship with temperature, with the Q(10) for root respiration in roots of different branching orders ranging from 1.62 to 2.20. The variation in root respiration by order illustrates that first-order roots are more metabolically active, suggesting that roots at different branch order positions have different physiological functions. The highly significant relationship between root respiration at different branch orders and root tissue N concentration suggests that root tissue N concentration may be used as a surrogate for root respiration, simplifying future research into the C dynamics of rooting systems.

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Accession: 052819135

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 21849591

DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tpr057


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