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Agronomy 2019, 9(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9010011

Architectural Root Responses of Rice to Reduced Water Availability Can Overcome Phosphorus Stress

1
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
2
International Potato Center (CIP), Kigali P.O. Box 1269, Rwanda
3
Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), Dar es Salaam P.O. Box 33581, Tanzania
4
Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), Antananarivo P.O. Box 1690, Madagascar
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 23 December 2018 / Accepted: 29 December 2018 / Published: 31 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Abstract

Drought and low phosphorus (P) availability are major limitations for rainfed rice production. Crop roots are important for soil resource acquisition and tolerance to P and water limitations. Two pot and two field trials were conducted to evaluate architectural root responses of contrasting rice varieties to combinations of different levels of P (deficient to non-limiting) and water availability (water stressed to submergence) and to identify the interactions with different varieties. Root development was then related to drought and/or low P tolerance. Although shoot and root growth responded more to P than to water availability, architectural root responses to water were much more prominent than responses to P availability. Reduced water availability decreased nodal thickness and increased secondary root branching, both factors partially enhancing P uptake efficiency and even overcoming a decreased root:shoot ratio under reduced water availability. In contrast to root thickness and secondary branching, basal lateral root density was strongly determined by variety and was related to enhanced P uptake. Reduced water availability induces root modifications which—apart from enhancing drought resilience—also affect P uptake efficiency. Future research on rice roots and nutrient uptake may hence take into account the large effects of water on root development. View Full-Text
Keywords: root architecture; lateral rooting; root thickness; root plasticity; phosphorus uptake efficiency; water availability root architecture; lateral rooting; root thickness; root plasticity; phosphorus uptake efficiency; water availability
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De Bauw, P.; Vandamme, E.; Lupembe, A.; Mwakasege, L.; Senthilkumar, K.; Merckx, R. Architectural Root Responses of Rice to Reduced Water Availability Can Overcome Phosphorus Stress. Agronomy 2019, 9, 11.

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