In order to analyze the dynamics of growth, water and K uptake, the effects of 1, 3 and 7 days of potassium starvation and the recovery capability during 7 days afterwards were investigated in vegetative tomato plants. After 7 days of K starvation, plant dry matter was reduced by 36% compared to control plants. After 3 days of starvation plants showed a 15% reduction in dry matter and a 25% reduction in growth rate (not statistically significant). K starvation reduced leaf area and specific leaf area (SLA) and it increased leaf dry matter percentage. K starvation enhanced dry matter partitioning into the roots at the expense of the stem. Plant K concentration was reduced by K starvation with the strongest effect in the leaves and roots. When a 3-day K starvation period was followed by 7 days of recovery with full strength nutrient solution, growth and plant K concentration completely recovered, but not after 7 days of K starvation. Xylem sap flow was reduced by K starvation and after 7 days of starvation the K concentration in the sap was reduced by 60%. During the starvation period, the reduction in relative growth rate was linearly related to the plant K concentration. The critical potassium concentration in the plant (the K concentration at which relative growth rate was reduced by 10%) was determined according to the nutrient interruption technique. The critical concentration was 4.3% K which was reached after 2.5 days of K starvation while the potassium concentration of control plants was 6.3%. During recovery the dry matter growth rate seemed to be the most important factor determining K uptake.
- nutrient interruption technique
- ricinus-communis l
- potassium recirculation
- barley roots