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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Root Development of Bell Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) as Affected by Water Salinity and Sink Strength

1
Gilat Research Center, Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, Negev 85-280, Israel
2
Yair Station, Central and Northern Arava R&D Center, Hazeva 8681500, Israel
3
School of Plant Sciences and Food Security, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel
4
Department of Oenology and Agriculture, Eastern R&D Center, Ariel 40700, Israel
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The authors contributed equally.
Plants 2020, 9(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9010035
Received: 11 November 2019 / Revised: 9 December 2019 / Accepted: 23 December 2019 / Published: 25 December 2019
Fruits are the dominant sinks for assimilates. At optimal conditions, assimilates supply can meet the demand of fruits and those of the vegetative organs; however, extreme circumstances such as strong sink strength or an environmental stress may disturb this fine balance. While most studies focus on aboveground parameters, information regarding root growth dynamics under variable sink strength are scarce. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of sink strength (represented by fruit load) and salinity on bell-pepper root development. Three levels of fruit load were combined with two salinity levels in plants grown in an aeroponic system. Root growth was determined both by root capacitance and destructive measurements. Salinity and sink strength significantly affected root, shoot and fruit growth dynamics. Root growth was less affected by fruit load. Salinity stress was negatively associated with shoot growth, but after an acclimation period, salinity enhanced root development. Additionally, this study shows for the first time that root capacitance is a valid approach for non-destructive measurement of root development in aeroponic systems. The good correlation measured by us (r2 0.86) opens new opportunities for continuous root growth monitoring in aeroponic systems in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: root to shoot ratio; fruit load; abiotic stress; root capacitance root to shoot ratio; fruit load; abiotic stress; root capacitance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Erel, R.; T. Le, T.; Eshel, A.; Cohen, S.; Offenbach, R.; Strijker, T.; Shtein, I. Root Development of Bell Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) as Affected by Water Salinity and Sink Strength. Plants 2020, 9, 35.

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