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Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering >> 2022, Volume 9, Issue 2 doi: 10.15302/J-FASE-2021433


1. Division of Plant Science, University of Dundee at the James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, UK

2. Climate Change Cluster, Faculty of Science, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia

3. School of Biological Sciences, University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia

Available online:2022-03-11

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Interactions between above and below ground parts of plants can be considered under the (overlapping) categories of energy, material and information. Solar energy powers photosynthesis and transpiration by above ground structures, and drives most water uptake through roots and supplies energy as organic matter to below ground parts, including diazotrophic symbionts and mycorrhizas. Material transfer occurs as water and dissolved soil-derived elements transport up the xylem, and a small fraction of water moving up the xylem with dissolved organic carbon and other solutes down the phloem. The cytosolic nature of sieve tubes accounts for at least some of the cycling of K, Mg and P down the phloem. NO3 assimilation of above ground parts requires organic N transport down phloem with, in some cases, organic anions related to shoot acid-base regulation. Long-distance information transfer is related development, biotic and abiotic damage, and above and below ground resource excess and limitation. Information transfer can involve hydraulic, electrical and chemical signaling, with their varying speeds of transmission and information content. Interaction of above and below ground plant parts is an important component of the ecosystem service of storing atmospheric CO2 as organic C in soil, a process that has decreased since the origin of agriculture.

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