Global resorption efficiencies of trace elements in leaves of terrestrial plants

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Leaf nutrient resorption is a critical nutrient conservation strategy. Previous studies focus mainly on resorption patterns of macronutrients, but resorption patterns of trace elements remain poorly understood. A meta-analysis was conducted to explore the general patterns of the leaf resorption of eight trace elements [i.e. copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), zinc (Zn), boron (B), manganese (Mn), sodium (Na), aluminium (Al) and iron (Fe)], and a macronutrient [i.e. sulphur (S)] using data collected from 53 published studies. Sulphur (49.6%) had the highest average resorption efficiency followed by Cu (30.3%), Mo (29.5%), Zn (19.5%) and B (17.6%). Two structural elements, Na and Mn, were not resorbed, whereas two potentially toxic elements, Al (−55.6%) and Fe (−25.4%), were accumulated in senesced leaves. Both climatic factors and growth types affected leaf nutrient resorption efficiency, but the magnitudes and directions of the effects differed greatly between S and the trace elements. The resorption efficiencies of S, Cu, Mo and Zn decreased as leaf nutrient concentrations increased, but the structural or potentially toxic elements (i.e. B, Mn, Na, Fe and Al) presented no response or opposite trends. Our results provide global mean resorption efficiencies of trace elements for the first time, and highlight that structural and potentially toxic elements have relatively lower or no leaf resorption, which should be fully considered in biogeochemical models. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article.




Chen, H., Reed, S. C., Xiaotao, L., Xiao, K., Wang, K., & Li, D. (2021). Global resorption efficiencies of trace elements in leaves of terrestrial plants. Functional Ecology, 35(7), 1596–1602.

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