Phosphorus nutrition of poplar

Phosphorus (P) is an essential element in plant nutrition and the most important nutrient after nitrogen, on the basis of requirement for growth. While P limitations increase in European forests, only a little is known about many aspects of P dynamics in woody plants.
We are interested in studying the responses of poplar to P-deprivation. Here, the focus is on P-uptake through phosphate transporters and P-acquisition by phosphatase activities.
Poplars grow in different habitats, e.g. riparian areas. Along with the fluctuation of water in this habitat, the nutrient concentrations will also fluctuate. But it is unclear at which concentrations poplars are under P-limitation. Phosphatases play an important role in P-acquisition. These enzymes release inorganic phosphate from organic phosphate sources that make up to 80 % of the soil's P reserves. Thereby, inorganic phosphate is solubilized and becomes available for the plant uptake by phosphate transporters.
Radioactive P is used as tracer for studying the P uptake capacities of poplar plants grown with different P supply using the facilities of the Laboratory for Radioisotopes (LARI). Molecular tools help to unravel the genetic response of poplar to P-stress. Studies of the root-associated phosphatases contribute to understand how poplars manage to sufficient P nutrition in soils with a very low concentration of plant available phosphate.


Work with Arabidopsis thaliana in climate chambers.

Publications and Dissemination

Kavka M, Lehmann G, Janz D, Polle A (2015) Limitations of Phosphate Uptake in Poplar (Populus × canescens). Botanikertagung, Freising, Germany (30 Aug - 03 Sep 2015)

Kavka M (2015) Phosphate acquisition of poplar and Arabidopsis: Purple Acid Phosphatases. Forstbotanisches Seminar, Göttingen, Germany (14 Dec 2015)

Kavka M (2015) Phosphate Uptake by Poplar. Kolloquium Molekulare Pflanzenwissenschaften, Göttingen, Germany (05 Feb 2015)

Kavka M (2013) Phosphate Deprivation in Poplar. Forstbotanisches Seminar, Göttingen, Germany (27 May 2013)

Funding acknowledgement

This PhD project is financially supported by Georg-August University of Göttingen/Laboratory for Radioisotopes (LARI) and partly by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in the framework of SSP1685 "Ecosystem Nutrition".