Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2617
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2617
24 Nov 2023
 | 24 Nov 2023

Direct foliar phosphorus uptake from wildfire ash

Anton Lokshin, Daniel Palchan, and Avner Gross

Abstract. Atmospheric particles originating from combustion byproducts (burned biomass or wildfire ash) are highly enriched in nutrients such as P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Zn, and others. Over long timescales, deposited wildfire ash particles contribute to soil fertility by replenishing soil nutrient reservoirs. However, the immediate nutritional effects of freshly deposited fire ash on plants are mostly unknown. Here we study the influence of fire ash on plant nutrition by applying particles separately on a plant’s foliage or onto its roots. We conducted experiments on chickpea model plants under ambient and elevated CO2 levels, 412 and 850 ppm, that reflect current and future climate scenarios. We found that plants can uptake fire ash P only through their leaves, by a direct nutrient uptake from particles captured on their foliage, but not via their roots. In a future climate scenario, foliar nutrient uptake pathway may be even more significant for plants, due to the partial inhibition of key root uptake mechanism. Our findings highlight the effectiveness of the foliar nutrient uptake mechanism under both ambient and elevated CO2 levels, with fire ash P being the sole nutrient absorbed by the foliage. These findings demonstrate the substantial contribution of fire ash to the nutrition of plants. Furthermore, the role of fire ash is expected to increase in the future world, thus giving a competitive advantage to plants that can utilize fire ash P from the foliar pathway.

Anton Lokshin, Daniel Palchan, and Avner Gross

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2617', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Dec 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Anton Lokshin, 11 Feb 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2617', Anonymous Referee #2, 12 Jan 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Anton Lokshin, 11 Feb 2024
  • AC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2617', Anton Lokshin, 14 Feb 2024
Anton Lokshin, Daniel Palchan, and Avner Gross
Anton Lokshin, Daniel Palchan, and Avner Gross

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Short summary
Ash particles from wildfires are rich in phosphorus (P), a crucial nutrient that constitutes a limiting factor in 43 % of the world's land ecosystems. We hypothesized that wildfire ash could directly contribute to plant nutrition. We found that fire ash application boosts the growth of plants, but the only way plants can uptake P from fire ash is through the foliar uptake pathway, and not through the roots. The fertilization impact of fire ash was maintained also under elevated levels of CO2.