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      Introduced Populations of an Invasive Tree Have Higher Soluble Sugars but Lower Starch and Cellulose

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          Native and introduced plant populations vary in leaf physiology, biochemistry, and biotic interactions. These aboveground traits may help invasive plants in competition for resources with co-occurring native species. Root physiological traits may affect invasive plant performance because of the roles of roots in resource absorption. The aim of this study was to test this prediction, using invasive Chinese tallow tree ( Triadica sebifera), as a model species. Here we examined carbohydrate (soluble sugar, sucrose, fructose, starch, and cellulose) concentrations and the mass of roots, stems, and leaves, along with root water potential and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) colonization of soil-cultured T. sebifera seedlings from 10 native (China) and 10 introduced (United States) populations in a common garden. Introduced populations had a significantly greater stem and leaf mass than native populations but their root masses did not differ, so they had lower R:S. Introduced populations had higher soluble sugar concentrations but lower starch and cellulose concentrations in their leaves, stems, and roots. Introduced populations had more negative root water potentials and higher AMF colonization. Together, our results indicate that invasive plants shift their carbohydrate allocation, leading to faster growth and a greater aboveground allocation strategy. Higher AMF colonization and more negative water potential in invasive plants likely facilitate more efficient water absorption by the roots. Thus, such physiological variation in root characteristics could play a role in plant invasion success.

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          Most cited references 38

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          Redefining fine roots improves understanding of below-ground contributions to terrestrial biosphere processes.

          Fine roots acquire essential soil resources and mediate biogeochemical cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Estimates of carbon and nutrient allocation to build and maintain these structures remain uncertain because of the challenges of consistently measuring and interpreting fine-root systems. Traditionally, fine roots have been defined as all roots ≤ 2 mm in diameter, yet it is now recognized that this approach fails to capture the diversity of form and function observed among fine-root orders. Here, we demonstrate how order-based and functional classification frameworks improve our understanding of dynamic root processes in ecosystems dominated by perennial plants. In these frameworks, fine roots are either separated into individual root orders or functionally defined into a shorter-lived absorptive pool and a longer-lived transport fine-root pool. Using these frameworks, we estimate that fine-root production and turnover represent 22% of terrestrial net primary production globally - a c. 30% reduction from previous estimates assuming a single fine-root pool. Future work developing tools to rapidly differentiate functional fine-root classes, explicit incorporation of mycorrhizal fungi into fine-root studies, and wider adoption of a two-pool approach to model fine roots provide opportunities to better understand below-ground processes in the terrestrial biosphere.
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            Nonstructural carbon in woody plants.

            Nonstructural carbon (NSC) provides the carbon and energy for plant growth and survival. In woody plants, fundamental questions about NSC remain unresolved: Is NSC storage an active or passive process? Do older NSC reserves remain accessible to the plant? How is NSC depletion related to mortality risk? Herein we review conceptual and mathematical models of NSC dynamics, recent observations and experiments at the organismal scale, and advances in plant physiology that have provided a better understanding of the dynamics of woody plant NSC. Plants preferentially use new carbon but can access decade-old carbon when the plant is stressed or physically damaged. In addition to serving as a carbon and energy source, NSC plays important roles in phloem transport, osmoregulation, and cold tolerance, but how plants regulate these competing roles and NSC depletion remains elusive. Moving forward requires greater synthesis of models and data and integration across scales from -omics to ecology.
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              The role of the secondary cell wall in plant resistance to pathogens

              Plant resistance to pathogens relies on a complex network of constitutive and inducible defensive barriers. The plant cell wall is one of the barriers that pathogens need to overcome to successfully colonize plant tissues. The traditional view of the plant cell wall as a passive barrier has evolved to a concept that considers the wall as a dynamic structure that regulates both constitutive and inducible defense mechanisms, and as a source of signaling molecules that trigger immune responses. The secondary cell walls of plants also represent a carbon-neutral feedstock (lignocellulosic biomass) for the production of biofuels and biomaterials. Therefore, engineering plants with improved secondary cell wall characteristics is an interesting strategy to ease the processing of lignocellulosic biomass in the biorefinery. However, modification of the integrity of the cell wall by impairment of proteins required for its biosynthesis or remodeling may impact the plants resistance to pathogens. This review summarizes our understanding of the role of the plant cell wall in pathogen resistance with a focus on the contribution of lignin to this biological process.

                Author and article information

                Front Plant Sci
                Front Plant Sci
                Front. Plant Sci.
                Frontiers in Plant Science
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                15 October 2020
                : 11
                1State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Adaptation and Improvement, School of Life Sciences, Henan University , Kaifeng, China
                2Department of Biosciences, Rice University , Houston, TX, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Henrik Hartmann, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany

                Reviewed by: Jianwen Zou, Nanjing Agricultural University, China; Shishir Paudel, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, United States

                *Correspondence: Jianqing Ding, jding@

                This article was submitted to Functional Plant Ecology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Plant Science

                Copyright © 2020 Li, Wang, Tian, Ding and Siemann.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 38, Pages: 8, Words: 0
                Plant Science
                Original Research

                Plant science & Botany

                cellulose, root water potential, starch, chinese tallow tree, soluble sugars


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