Morphological, biochemical and molecular characterization of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) genotypes contrasting for phosphate-use efficiency
We compared three Pi-efficient (ATF-14B, ATF-53B, 101B) and four Pi-inefficient (ATF-16B, 116R, 136B, 187R) sorghum genotypes under different Pi concentrations. There were no significant differences between the groups in Pi-use efficiency under Pi-deprivation for anthocyanin accumulation, dry-weight matter, acid phosphatase activity (APA), and aerenchyma formation. However, both groups showed anthocyanin accumulation under Pi-deprivation. Under Pi-deficiency, there was a significant reduction of dry weight in both groups, with no significant differences between contrasting genotypes. All genotypes exhibited a significant increase in root/shoot ratios during Pi-deficiency, and these changes were not related to Pi-use efficiency. The total Pi content in roots and shoots in all genotypes was similar and represented less than 0.2 % of the total dry weight. For all genotypes, the Pi content in P+ treatment resulted in a significant variation ranging from 0.45 to 0.85% and 0.41 to 0.66% in roots and shoots, respectively. The genotype 187R had the highest P content in roots and shoots. APA activity showed increased activity only in the roots of both groups. The development of aerenchyma was conspicuous in the basal and in the middle root sections of all genotypes grown under different Pi levels. Two sorghum Pi-transporter genes were strongly overexpressed in the middle part of Pi-deprived roots of 136B genotype. We did not find differences that explain the Pi-use efficiency between efficient and inefficient genotypes. More studies are needed to elucidate the complex mechanism of P-utilization by sorghum plants.