Are microorganisms more effective than plants at competing for nitrogen?

A Hodge, D Robinson, A Fitter

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

449 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Plant scientists have long debated whether plants or microorganisms are the superior competitor for nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystems, Microorganisms have traditionally been viewed as the victors but recent evidence that plants can take up organic nitrogen compounds intact and can successfully acquire N from organic patches in soil raises the question anew. We argue that the key determinants of 'success' in nitrogen competition are spatial differences in nitrogen availability and in root and microbial distributions, together with temporal differences in microbial and root turnover. Consequently, it is not possible to discuss plant-microorganism competition without taking into account this spatiotemporal context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-308
Number of pages5
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Volume5
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Keywords

  • ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZAL FUNGUS
  • SOIL-MICROORGANISMS
  • ROOT PROLIFERATION
  • ORGANIC NITROGEN
  • AMINO-ACIDS
  • MICROBES
  • CAPTURE
  • NITRATE
  • CYCLE

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