Spatial mapping of phosphorus influx in bean root systems using digital autoradiography

Gerardo Rubio, Agostino Sorgonà, Jonathan P. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


A novel technique was developed to spatially map the phosphorus net influx capacity in intact root systems. The method is based on digital autoradiography and permits the quantification of phosphorus influx at high spatial resolution (2 mm). Roots of 18-d-old common bean plants were exposed to 32P-labelled orthophosphate, quickly frozen, excised, lyophilized, scanned, and exposed to a storage phosphor screen. Plots of 32P content versus root length (distance from the root tip or from the base of the root) were obtained for three different root classes: basal, basal laterals, and taproot laterals. Radioactivity detected by filmless autoradiography correlated well (r2=0.99) with measurements made by scintillation counting. Basal roots absorbed 2.5 times and 1.9 times more phosphorus than the taproot lateral and basal lateral root classes, respectively, in the first 20 mm from the root apex. External phosphorus markedly affected influx: roots averaged 5, 16, and 34 pmol P min-1 in the apical 20 mm when exposed to 1, 5, and 10 μM P solutions, respectively. The spatial pattern of phosphorus influx along the root axes of the different root classes was rather homogeneous when measured on a root surface area basis. Phosphorus influx in the older segments of basal roots (those next to the hypocotyl) did not differ from the newer segments close to the root apex. However, a heterogeneous pattern was detected for basal roots when measured on a length basis, indicating that both root class and diameter constitute main factors controlling the spatial pattern of net influx.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2269-2280
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number406
StatePublished - Oct 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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