31P-NMR Metabolomics Revealed Species-Specific Use of Phosphorous in Trees of a French Guiana Rainforest

Albert Gargallo-Garriga*, Jordi Sardans, Joan Llusià, Dolores Asensio, Romà Ogaya, Ifigenia Urbina, Leandro van Langenhove, Lore T. Verryckt, Elodie A. Courtois, Clément Stahl, Oriol Grau, Otmar Urban, Ivan A. Janssens, Pau Nolis, Miriam Pérez-Trujillo, Teodor Parella, Josep Peñuelas, Guillermo Peguero Gutierrez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Productivity of tropical lowland moist forests is often limited by availability and functional allocation of phosphorus (P) that drives competition among tree species and becomes a key factor in determining forestall community diversity. We used non-target 31P-NMR metabolic profiling to study the foliar P-metabolism of trees of a French Guiana rainforest. The objective was to test the hypotheses that P-use is species-specific, and that species diversity relates to species P-use and concentrations of P-containing compounds, including inorganic phosphates, orthophosphate monoesters and diesters, phosphonates and organic polyphosphates. We found that tree species explained the 59% of variance in 31P-NMR metabolite profiling of leaves. A principal component analysis showed that tree species were separated along PC 1 and PC 2 of detected P-containing compounds, which represented a continuum going from high concentrations of metabolites related to non-active P and P-storage, low total P concentrations and high N:P ratios, to high concentrations of P-containing metabolites related to energy and anabolic metabolism, high total P concentrations and low N:P ratios. These results highlight the species-specific use of P and the existence of species-specific P-use niches that are driven by the distinct species-specific position in a continuum in the P-allocation from P-storage compounds to P-containing molecules related to energy and anabolic metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3960
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Iceland
  • P-NMR metabolic profiling
  • P-containing compounds
  • Species-specific P-use niches
  • Tropical lowland


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