Luxury Absorption of Phosphorus Exists in Maize When Intercropping with Legumes or Oilseed Rape—Covering Different Locations and Years
Rational regulation of phosphorus (P) use in the soil–rhizosphere–plant system is challenging in the development of sustainable, intensive, and healthy agriculture. Rational maize (Zea mays L.) based intercropping with legumes/oilseed rape across six experimental sites from 2008 to 2017 proved advantageous over monoculture in terms of both maize biomass production and P uptake. The partial land equivalent ratio (PLER) for P uptake by intercropped maize averaged from 0.58 to 0.92, which was
... ficantly higher than that for biomass production (0.51–0.78), indicating that the advantage of P acquisition by intercropped maize was superior to that of biomass accumulation. It was the excessive accumulation of P in intercropped maize compared to monoculture, especially higher P concentrations in grains that led to the superior P acquisition advantage and luxury absorption of P. P concentrations in maize grains were significantly increased from 1.89–2.91 mg kg−1 in monoculture to 2.09–3.65 mg kg−1, in intercropping, by 8.3%–25.5%. The plant internal P use efficiency of maize was significantly decreased from the initial 411.7–775.7 kg kg−1 in monoculture to 345.7–710.4 kg kg−1 in intercropping by 4.9%–16.0%, and 100 kg maize grain P quantities were significantly increased from 0.25–0.46 kg to 0.27–0.54 kg by 7.0%–17.4%. Rational fertilizer P input maximized maize yields and P use without decreasing the interspecific ecological advantages and harvest indexes of grain yields and P. These findings promoted better understanding of P allocation status within maize plants, and yield and P acquisition advantages through the exploitation of the biological potential of plants for the efficient utilization of P resources in diverse species combinations.