Biogeographic bases for a shift in crop C: N: P stoichiometries during domestication

Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, Peter B. Reich, Pablo García-Palacios, Rubén Milla

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

40 Scopus citations


We lack both a theoretical framework and solid empirical data to understand domestication impacts on plant chemistry. We hypothesised that domestication increased leaf N and P to support high plant production rates, but biogeographic and climate patterns further influenced the magnitude and direction of changes in specific aspects of chemistry and stoichiometry. To test these hypotheses, we used a data set of leaf C, N and P from 21 herbaceous crops and their wild progenitors. Domestication increased leaf N and/or P for 57% of the crops. Moreover, the latitude of the domestication sites (negatively related to temperature) modulated the domestication effects on P (+), C (-), N: P (-) and C: P (-) ratios. Further results from a litter decomposition assay showed that domestication effects on litter chemistry affected the availability of soil N and P. Our findings draw attention to evolutionary effects of domestication legacies on plant and soil stoichiometry and related ecosystem services (e.g. plant yield and soil fertility).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-575
Number of pages12
JournalEcology letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.


  • Crops
  • Decomposition
  • Growth rate hypothesis
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Soil age hypothesis
  • T-physiology hypothesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Biogeographic bases for a shift in crop C: N: P stoichiometries during domestication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this