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Analysis of phosphorus use efficiency traits in Coffea genotypes reveals Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora have contrasting phosphorus uptake and utilization efficiencies

Abstract

Background and Aims: Phosphate (Pi) is one of the most limiting nutrients for agricultural production in Brazilian soils due to low soil Pi concentrations and rapid fixation of fertilizer Pi by adsorption to oxidic minerals and/or precipitation by iron and aluminum ions. The objectives of this study were to quantify phosphorus (P) uptake and use efficiency in cultivars of the species Coffea arabica L. and Coffea canephora L., and group them in terms of efficiency and response to Pi availability. Methods: Plants of twenty-one cultivars of C. arabica and four cultivars of C. canephora were grown under contrasting soil Pi availabilities. Biomass accumulation, tissue P concentration and accumulation and efficiency indices for P use were measured. Key Results: Coffee plant growth was significantly reduced under low Pi availability, and P concentration was higher in cultivars of C. canephora. The young leaves accumulated more P than any other tissue. The cultivars of C. canephora had a higher root/shoot ratio and were significantly more efficient in P uptake, while the cultivars of C. arabica were more efficient in P utilisation. Agronomic P use efficiency varied among coffee cultivars and E16 Shoa, E22 Sidamo, Iêmen and Acaiá cultivars were classified as the most efficient and responsive to Pi supply. A positive correlation between P uptake efficiency and root to shoot ratio was observed across all cultivars at low Pi supply. These data identify Coffea genotypes better adapted to low soil Pi availabilities, and In review Phosphorus use efficiency in coffee cultivars the traits that contribute to improved P uptake and use efficiency. These data could be used to select current genotypes with improved P uptake or utilization efficiencies for use on soils with low Pi availability and also provide potential breeding material and targets for breeding new cultivars better adapted to the low Pi status of Brazilian soils. This could ultimately reduce the use of Pi fertilisers in tropical soils, and contribute to more sustainable coffee production. (AU)

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