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Plants 2015, 4(2), 253-266; doi:10.3390/plants4020253

Phytate (Inositol Hexakisphosphate) in Soil and Phosphate Acquisition from Inositol Phosphates by Higher Plants. A Review

Ausbau 5, 18258 Rukieten, Germany
Academic Editors: Francesca Sparvoli, Roberto Pilu and Eleonora Cominelli
Received: 1 March 2015 / Accepted: 12 May 2015 / Published: 22 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytic Acid Pathway and Breeding in Plants)
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Abstract

Phosphate (P) fixation to the soil solid phase is considered to be important for P availability and is often attributed to the strong binding of orthophosphate anion species. However, the fixation and subsequent immobilization of inositolhexa and pentaphosphate isomers (phytate) in soil is often much stronger than that of the orthosphate anion species. The result is that phytate is a main organic P form in soil and the dominating form of identifiable organic P. The reasons for the accumulation are not fully clear. Two hypothesis can be found in the literature in the last 20 years, the low activity of phytase (phosphatases) in soil, which makes phytate P unavailable to the plant roots, and, on the other hand, the strong binding of phytate to the soil solid phase with its consequent stabilization and accumulation in soil. The hypothesis that low phytase activity is responsible for phytate accumulation led to the development of genetically modified plant genotypes with a higher expression of phytase activity at the root surface and research on the effect of a higher phytate activity on P acquisition. Obviously, this hypothesis has a basic assumption, that the phytate mobility in soil is not the limiting step for P acquisition of higher plants from soil phytate. This assumption is, however, not justified considering the results on the sorption, immobilization and fixation of phytate to the soil solid phase reported in the last two decades. Phytate is strongly bound, and the P sorption maximum and probably the sorption strength of phytate P to the soil solid phase is much higher, compared to that of orthophosphate P. Mobilization of phytate seems to be a promising step to make it available to the plant roots. The excretion of organic acid anions, citrate and to a lesser extend oxalate, seems to be an important way to make phytate P available to the plants. Phytase activity at the root surface seems not be the limiting step in P acquisition from phytate. Phytate is not only bound to inorganic surfaces in soil but can also be bound, similar to orthophosphate, to humic surfaces via Fe or Al bridges. Humic-metal-phytate complexes may be transported in the soil solution to the roots where hydrolysis and uptake of the liberated P may occur. Research on this topic is strongly required. View Full-Text
Keywords: Inositol hexakisphosphate (IHP); phytate; IHP sorption; phosphatases; humic-Al(Fe)-IHP complexes; carboxylate mobilization Inositol hexakisphosphate (IHP); phytate; IHP sorption; phosphatases; humic-Al(Fe)-IHP complexes; carboxylate mobilization
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gerke, J. Phytate (Inositol Hexakisphosphate) in Soil and Phosphate Acquisition from Inositol Phosphates by Higher Plants. A Review. Plants 2015, 4, 253-266.

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