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Last update: May 2021

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Theme 2

Acquisition and distribution of major and trace elements in plants

Facilitator: C. Nguyen

This theme focuses on the processes by which the plant, whether a field crop or a forest species, acquires and distributes inorganic nutrients and contaminants among its organs. The main objective of this theme is to refine our understanding of these geochemical and ecophysiological processes. The challenge is to improve the nutritional and sanitary quality of plant production while maintaining the yield, by favoring the recycling of organic waste products in a sustainable way in a changing environment resulting from climate change. This theme is based on a generic modeling of the soil-to-plant transfer of elements.

A first ambition of this theme is to pay more attention to the biotic component of soils in the understanding that we have (and the description that we make) of the acquisition of the elements by the plant. Similar to the role played by ectomycorrhizae in the acquisition of P in forest environments, the microflora of the rhizosphere plays an important role in the acquisition of mineral resources in low-input systems. The soil biotic component can therefore contribute to a more efficient use of mineral resources in agriculture.

A second ambition is to work with a multielementary approach in order to better understand the functional balances between elements during plant development in agricultural and forestry plant production. We aim at grouping the elements whose behaviors are linked by the geochemistry or plant physiology while understanding why their dynamics are correlated, both in terms of their acquisition by the roots and of their allocation and reallocation between organs. This typology will make it possible to predict the content of an organ for any element based on biogeochemical and ecophysiological mechanisms. This approach echoes the concept of stoichiometric plasticity already studied on C, N, P that we wish to evaluate for other elements.

This theme will be conducted in close interactions with theme 1 "Determinants of element availability in soils" and its outputs should feed into themes 3 and 4.