Soil phosphate represents the only source of phosphorus for plants and, consequently, is its entry into the trophic chain. This major component of nucleic acids, phospholipids, and energy currency of the cell (ATP) can limit plant growth because of its low mobility in soil. As a result, root responses to low phosphate favor the exploration of the shallower part of the soil, where phosphate tends to be more abundant, a strategy described as topsoil foraging. We will review the diverse developmental strategies that can be observed among plants by detailing the effect of phosphate deficiency on primary and lateral roots. We also discuss the formation of cluster roots: an advanced adaptive strategy to cope with low phosphate availability observed in a limited number of species. Finally, we will put this work into perspective for future research directions.
Via Christophe Jacquet, Jennifer Mach