An aquatic perspective on the concepts of Ingestad relating plant nutrition to plant growth

Physiol Plant. 2001 Nov;113(3):301-307. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-3054.2001.1130301.x.


The Ingestad approach to the culture of higher terrestrial plants for physiological studies is discussed in relation to a number of resources, organisms and growth situations that were not part of the original design and rationale of Ingestad's methodology. The additional resource considered is photosynthetically active radiation, and difficulties of applying the Ingestad approach to this resource as well as to atmospheric CO2 are considered. The relationship of the Ingestad approach to reductionist studies based on enzyme kinetic studies is then briefly considered. The organisms considered next are aquatic plants, including both micro- and macrophytes. The consideration of photosynthetic microorganisms leads to a comparison of the Ingestad approach with growth in batch, and in continuous (chemostat and turbidostat) cultures, and with studies on growth in synchronous cultures in which cyclic changes in cell composition in the cell growth and division cycle can be identified. The natural environmental conditions for these organisms are a natural extension of the light/dark synchronization of laboratory cultures, and the bloom (batch culture equivalent to new production) and of grazing and parasitism removing biomass and recycling nutrients (chemostat or turbidostat culture equivalent to recycled production) situations for phytoplankton. The overall conclusion is that, while the Ingestad approach is a useful mirror in which to examine other concepts of plant resource acquisition and manipulation, the Ingestad methodology seems to make assumptions about the intrinsic growth rate and composition of plants that cannot be independently verified.