Reduction of mineral nutrient availability accelerates flowering of Arabidopsis thaliana

J Plant Physiol. 2008 Oct 9;165(15):1601-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2007.11.010. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


The time of flowering is regulated by various environmental cues, and in some plant species, it is known to be affected by abiotic stresses. We investigated the effect of nutrient stress caused by an abrupt reduction of mineral nutrition on flowering of Arabidopsis thaliana. We used a hydroponic culture system that enabled us to precisely control nutrient levels. When plants were grown in full-strength nutrient solution for several weeks and then transferred to a diluted medium, the time from sowing to bud appearance was significantly shortened. This acceleration of flowering was more pronounced in short days than in long days, and stronger in the ecotype Landsberg erecta than in Columbia and San Feliu-2. The response was also affected by the age of plants at the beginning of nutrient stress and by the concentration of the diluted medium: earlier treatment and more diluted solutions strengthened the effect. Flowering was affected by nutrient stress, not by a change in the osmotic potential of the medium: addition of mannitol to a 1000-fold diluted solution had no effect on the promotion of flowering. When 3-week-old Landsberg erecta plants were exposed to 1000-fold diluted nutrient solution in an 8-h day length, flower bud appearance was strongly and reproducibly advanced by 10.8-12.8d compared with control plants (which developed buds 41.1-46.2d after sowing). This treatment can serve as an optimized protocol for future studies concerning physiological, molecular and ecological aspects of flower induction by nutrient stress in A. thaliana.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Flowers / growth & development*
  • Genotype
  • Hydroponics
  • Minerals / metabolism*
  • Osmolar Concentration


  • Minerals