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  • D. M. S. B. DISSANAYAKA (a1) (a2), W. M. K. R. WICKRAMASINGHE (a1), BUDDHI MARAMBE (a1) and JUN WASAKI (a2)

The capability of some plant species to mobilize phosphorus (P) from poorly available soil P fractions can improve P availability for P-inefficient plant species in intercropping. White lupin (Lupinus albus) has been investigated as a model P-mobilizing plant for its capability of enhancing the P acquisition of neighbouring species under P-limited conditions. To date, investigations have led to contrasting findings, where some reports have described a positive effect of intercropped lupins on companion plants, whereas others have revealed no effects. This review summarizes the literature related to lupin–cereal intercropping. It explores the underpinning mechanisms that influence interspecific facilitation of P acquisition. The P-mobilization-based facilitation by lupins to enhance P-acquisition of co-occurring plant species is determined by both available P concentration and P-sorption capacity of soil, and the root intermingling capacity among two plant partners enabling rhizosphere overlapping. In lupin–cereal intercropping, lupin enhances the below-ground concentration of labile P pools through mobilization of P from sparingly available P pools, which is accomplished through carboxylate exudation, where neighbouring species acquire part of the mobilized P. The non-P-mobilizing species benefit only under P-limited conditions when they immediately occupy the maximum soil volume influenced by P-mobilizing lupin. Positive effects of mixed cropping are apparent in alkaline, neutral and acidic soils. However, the facilitation of P acquisition by lupins to companion species is eliminated when soil becomes strongly P-sorbing. In such soils, the limitation of root growth can result in poorer root intermingling between two species. The P mobilized by lupins might not be acquired by neighbouring species because it is bound to P-sorbing compounds. We suggest that the lupins can be best used as P-mobilizing plant species to enhance P acquisition of P-inefficient species under P-limited conditions when plant species are grown with compatible crops and soil types that facilitate sharing of rhizosphere functions among intercropped partners.

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§Corresponding author. Email:; Contact address: Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, 20400, Sri Lanka.
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