Mineral nutrition in evolution of C4 photosynthesis

Supervision: The project will be supervised by Stanislav Kopriva at the University of Cologne.

Abstract: The evolution of C4 photosynthesis led to an increase in carbon assimilation rates and plant growth compared to C3 photosynthetic plants. This enhanced plant growth affects the requirement for soil-derived mineral nutrients. However, mineral plant nutrition has scarcely been considered in connection with C4 photosynthesis. By analysing species of the genus Flaveria with different photosynthesis types, we have shown differences in accumulation of sulfur compounds and allocation of phosphate between C3 and C4 species. We have generated interspecies grafts between F. robusta (C3) and F. bidentis (C4) which revealed that the difference in sulfur assimilation is mainly controlled by the root. We have also observed differences in allocation of phosphate between the C3 and C4 Flaveria species. In this project we aim to dissect the differences in phosphate homeostasis in Flaveria and more general differences in mineral nutrition between C3 and C4 species. This work will assess to what extent mineral nutrition is differently controlled in C3 and C4 plants and how far it is important for optimal performance of the C4 photosynthetic mechanism.

Link to the Kopriva group homepage: https://ag-kopriva.botanik.uni-koeln.de/

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