Global resorption efficiencies of trace elements in leaves of terrestrial plants

Functional Ecology
By: , and 



  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Global resorption efficiencies of trace elements in leaves of terrestrial plants
Series title Functional Ecology
DOI 10.1111/1365-2435.13809
Volume 35
Issue 7
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher British Ecological Society
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 7 p.
First page 1596
Last page 1602
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details