Special Issue "Root-Soil Interactions"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Soil and Plant Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 February 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Richard Whalley

Rothamsted Research, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44 (0) 1582 938 486
Interests: soil–root interactions; root impedance; soil structure; soil physics; soil sensing; wheat
Guest Editor
Dr. Malcolm Hawkesford

Rothamsted Research, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44 (0) 1582 938 597
Interests: wheat; nitrogen use efficiency; plant nutrition; roots; phenotyping

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There has been a resurgence of interest in the ‘Hidden Half’ of plants and crops, namely the roots. Encouragingly, there is a keen appreciation of the need for root studies to be in a realistic environment, at least soil columns and ideally in the field. Whilst root proliferation and function have genetic basis, accounting for variability between species and within species, there is an overriding impact of the soil and its properties including chemistry, physical structure and strength, water content and organic matter and microbial content. New methodologies are being developed to enable high throughput screening with improved resolution, in some cases using sampling, or proxy measurements for activity or extremely high resolution by magnetic resonance scanning or X-ray computer tomography albeit at lower throughput. This Special Issue aims to include key breakthrough in any of these areas of interactions of plant roots with the soil or novel techniques for analysis. The outputs of studies in either the laboratory or the field environments are welcome.  

Dr. William Whalley
Dr. Malcolm Hawkesford
Guest Editors

 

Keywords

  • Soil structure
  • Soil management
  • Root architecture
  • Strong soils
  • Root function
  • Nutrient acquisition
  • Water acquisition
  • Stress
  • Root phenotyping

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Scanner-Based Minirhizotrons Help to Highlight Relations between Deep Roots and Yield in Various Wheat Cultivars under Combined Water and Nitrogen Deficit Conditions
Agronomy 2019, 9(6), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9060297
Received: 17 April 2019 / Revised: 20 May 2019 / Accepted: 4 June 2019 / Published: 7 June 2019
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Abstract
Breeding for crops in the context of climate change necessitates phenotyping tools for roots in field conditions. Such in-field phenotyping requires the development of rapid and non-destructive measurement techniques for the screening of relevant root traits under sub-optimal conditions. In this study, we [...] Read more.
Breeding for crops in the context of climate change necessitates phenotyping tools for roots in field conditions. Such in-field phenotyping requires the development of rapid and non-destructive measurement techniques for the screening of relevant root traits under sub-optimal conditions. In this study, we used scanner-based minirhizotrons to measure in situ the root length and surface/volume densities of roots for four wheat varieties, under four different growth conditions: irrigated and rainfed coupled with optimal and sub-optimal N fertilization under a Mediterranean climate. For all the treatments, grain yield correlates with minirhizotron-based root surface density measured at anthesis (r2 = 0.48). Irrigated and rainfed conditions led to contrasted relations between roots and grain yield: no correlation was found in irrigated plots, while under rainfed conditions and sub-optimal fertilization, the higher yields are related to a higher root colonization of the deeper soil layers (r2 = 0.40). Shoot biomass was correlated to grain yield in irrigated conditions, but not in rainfed conditions. However, for the latter, the total root weight, the proportion of which being mainly located in the top soil, is not related to the grain yield. In this way, we show the relationship between these higher grain yields and a stress avoidance mechanism of the root system characterized by a higher root density in the deep soil layers. Thus, unlike shoot biomass measurements, scanner-based minirhizotron allows the direct detection of such a stress-related root development, and therefore opens the door to a better prediction of grain yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Drought-Tolerant Barley: I. Field Observations of Growth and Development
Agronomy 2019, 9(5), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9050221
Received: 13 February 2019 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 28 April 2019 / Published: 30 April 2019
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Abstract
An ever-growing challenge to agricultural production worldwide is the reduced availability of water and increased incidence of drought. The development of low-irrigation barley cultivars marks a significant achievement in breeding efforts for drought tolerance, but specific traits conferring adaptation to water stress remain [...] Read more.
An ever-growing challenge to agricultural production worldwide is the reduced availability of water and increased incidence of drought. The development of low-irrigation barley cultivars marks a significant achievement in breeding efforts for drought tolerance, but specific traits conferring adaptation to water stress remain unclear. Here, we report results from two years of replicated field trials comparing yield, phenology, water usage, and rooting characteristics of low-irrigation varieties “Solar” and “Solum” to high-input, semi-dwarf varieties “Kopious” and “Cochise”. The objective was to identify differential performance of varieties under high- and low-water conditions through comparison of growth and developmental traits. Rooting characteristics were analyzed by digging in-field root profile walls to a depth of 1.8 m. Varieties were compared under high (877 mm) and low (223 mm) water regimes including irrigation and precipitation. Observed traits associated with improved performance of the low-irrigation varieties under drought conditions included early vigor, early flowering, greater root growth at 40–80 cm depth, and more effective water use exhibited by greater water extraction post-anthesis. The deeper rooting pattern of the low-irrigation varieties may be related to their ability to use more water post-anthesis under water stress, and thus, to fill grain, compared to high input varieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Drought-Tolerant Barley: II. Root Tip characteristics in Emerging Roots
Agronomy 2019, 9(5), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9050220
Received: 11 February 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 28 April 2019 / Published: 30 April 2019
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Abstract
Reduced water resources are of increasingly urgent global concern. One potential strategy to address the crisis is the use of drought tolerant crops in agriculture. Barley varieties developed for reduced irrigation (“Solum” and “Solar”) use significantly less water than conventional varieties (“Cochise” and [...] Read more.
Reduced water resources are of increasingly urgent global concern. One potential strategy to address the crisis is the use of drought tolerant crops in agriculture. Barley varieties developed for reduced irrigation (“Solum” and “Solar”) use significantly less water than conventional varieties (“Cochise” and “Kopious”). The underlying mechanism of this drought tolerance is unknown but root structure and function play a key role in plant water uptake. In this study, an empirical survey compared early root development between drought tolerant and conventional varieties. Traits associated with root meristem-regulated cell division including rate of seed germination, border cell number and root cap mucilage production, and root hair emergence were quantified during root emergence. Preliminary results revealed that drought tolerant varieties exhibited faster seed germination and root hair production than conventional varieties. Border cell number and mucilage production in the drought tolerant varieties also were higher than in the conventional variety “Kopious,” but lower than in “Cochise”. Each trait, if found to be linked to the observed drought tolerance, could yield a simple, rapid, and inexpensive tool to screen for new crop varieties. Further detailed studies are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Root Distribution and Its Impacts on the Drought Tolerance Capacity of Hybrid Rice in the Sichuan Basin Area of China
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 29 January 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
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Abstract
Drought is one of the major factors limiting rice yield worldwide. A total of 46 hybrid rice varieties were chosen to investigate their root distribution and their response to drought. A field experiment was carried out in a dry shed building to evaluate [...] Read more.
Drought is one of the major factors limiting rice yield worldwide. A total of 46 hybrid rice varieties were chosen to investigate their root distribution and their response to drought. A field experiment was carried out in a dry shed building to evaluate the drought tolerance capacity of hybrid rice varieties on the basis of CTIRDE (complex tolerance index of rice under drought environment) values. Next, the experiment was conducted in a specially designed pot system and seed bags to analyze the root distribution and activity of antioxidant enzymes in different rice varieties. Moreover, the DEEPER ROOTING 1 (DRO1) gene was sequenced to elucidate its role in the root distribution of typical rice varieties. On the basis of CTIRDE values, the 46 hybrid rice varieties were classified as tolerant (CTIRDE ≥ 0.75), semi-tolerant (0.75 > CTIRDE > 0.65), or sensitive (CTIRDE ≤ 0.65) to drought stress. The tolerant varieties (Chuanguyou208 and Deyou4727) displayed a significantly larger length, had higher number and weight of roots in the 30–50 cm soil layer, and exhibited a significantly higher activity of Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and Peroxidase (POD) enzymes in roots during the drought stress period. The DRO1 gene sequencing results revealed that the tolerant and sensitive varieties exhibited a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the 3-exon region, and the tolerant varieties (Chuanguyou208 and Deyou4727) exhibited a larger root growth angle with the horizontal axis, hence developing a deeper root system as compared with the other two group varieties. A significant correlation was found not only between the DRO1 gene and root distribution but also between DRO1 and the activity of SOD and POD enzymes. Conclusively, as a key feature, a deep root system enabled tolerant rice varieties (Chuanguyou208 and Deyou4727) to avoid drought stress by absorbing more water stored in deep soil layers. The root distribution, activity of POD and SOD enzymes in roots, and DRO1 gene can be used to screen tolerant rice varieties that can survive better under drought stress during the seedling stage of rice growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Architectural Root Responses of Rice to Reduced Water Availability Can Overcome Phosphorus Stress
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 23 December 2018 / Accepted: 29 December 2018 / Published: 31 December 2018
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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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Hydraulic Redistribution in Slender Wheatgrass (Elymus trachycaulus Link Malte) and Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis L.): Potential Benefits for Land Reclamation
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120308
Received: 6 November 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 18 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
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Abstract
Hydraulic redistribution (HR) by plant roots can increase moisture content in the dry, mostly upper, parts of the soil. HR helps maintain the viability of fine roots, root hydraulic conductivity, microbial activity and facilitate nutrient uptake. Plants can supply water to other surrounding [...] Read more.
Hydraulic redistribution (HR) by plant roots can increase moisture content in the dry, mostly upper, parts of the soil. HR helps maintain the viability of fine roots, root hydraulic conductivity, microbial activity and facilitate nutrient uptake. Plants can supply water to other surrounding plants by HR under drought conditions. In oil sands reclamation areas in Northeastern Alberta, Canada, reconstructed soils commonly suffer from the problems of drought, high pH, salinity, and compaction, which often impact revegetation success. In this study, we investigated the HR potential of two herbaceous plants that are frequently present in oil sands reclamation sites: slender wheatgrass (Elymus trachycaulus Link Malte) and yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis L.), using a vertically split-root growth setup and treatments with deuterium-enriched water. Our objective was to test the potential benefits of HR on drought responses of seedlings of the commonly used plant species for oil sand reclamation, balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera L.), when these plants were grown together under controlled environment conditions. We found that both wheatgrass and yellow sweet clover could redistribute water in the upward and downward directions. However, the amount of water released by the roots was not sufficient to alleviate the effects of drought stress on the associated balsam poplar seedlings. Longer-term field studies should be carried out in order to examine, under different environmental conditions, the potential benefits of HR in these herbaceous plants to the establishment and growth of other plant species that are used for land reclamation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Variation of Fine Roots Distribution in Apple (Malus pumila M.)–Crop Intercropping Systems on the Loess Plateau of China
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120280
Received: 19 October 2018 / Revised: 18 November 2018 / Accepted: 25 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
In arid and semi-arid areas, interspecific below-ground competition is prominent in agroforestry systems. To provide theoretical and technical guidance for the scientific management of apple–crop intercropping systems, a field study was conducted in the Loess Plateau of China to examine the variation of [...] Read more.
In arid and semi-arid areas, interspecific below-ground competition is prominent in agroforestry systems. To provide theoretical and technical guidance for the scientific management of apple–crop intercropping systems, a field study was conducted in the Loess Plateau of China to examine the variation of fine roots distribution in apple–crop intercropping systems. The fine roots of apple trees and crops (soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr) or peanuts (Arachis hypogaea Linn.)) were sampled to 100 cm depth at ten distances from the tree row using the stratified excavation method. The results showed that the vertical distribution of fine roots between intercropped apple trees and intercropped crops were skewed and overlapped. Apple–crop intercropping inhibited the fine roots of apple trees in the 0–60 cm soil depth, but promoted their growth in the 60–100 cm soil depth. However, apple–crop intercropping inhibited the fine roots of intercropped crops in the 0–100 cm soil depth. For the fine roots of each component of the apple–crop intercropping systems, variation in the vertical distribution was much greater than variation in the horizontal distribution. Compared with monocropped systems, apple–crop intercropping caused the fine roots of intercropped apple trees to move to deeper soil, and those of intercropped crops to move to shallower soil. Additionally, apple–crop intercropping slightly inhibited the horizontal extension of the fine-root horizontal barycentre (FRHB) of intercropped apple trees and caused the FRHB of intercropped crops to be slightly biased towards the north of the apple tree row. Variation of the fine roots distribution of each component of the apple–soybean intercropping system was greater than that of the apple–peanut intercropping system. Thus, the interspecific below-ground competition of the apple–peanut intercropping system was weaker than that of the apple–soybean intercropping system. Intense competition occurred in the apple–peanut intercropping system and the apple–soybean intercropping system was in sections whose distance ranged from 0.5–1.3 and 0.5–1.7 m from the tree row, respectively. The interspecific below-ground competition was fiercer on the south side of the apple tree row than on the north side. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Soil-Applied Fungicides on Sugarcane Root and Shoot Growth, Rhizosphere Microbial Communities, and Nutrient Uptake
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100223
Received: 29 August 2018 / Revised: 29 September 2018 / Accepted: 6 October 2018 / Published: 9 October 2018
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Abstract
Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrid) successive planting (also called monoculture) causes serious yield losses and its management is not well studied in Histosols. Based on very few studies in other sugarcane regions, root colonization by harmful soil fungi is considered as a major [...] Read more.
Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrid) successive planting (also called monoculture) causes serious yield losses and its management is not well studied in Histosols. Based on very few studies in other sugarcane regions, root colonization by harmful soil fungi is considered as a major cause of this yield decline, but there is lack of knowledge on its management in Histosols. A two-year greenhouse study was conducted with soil-drench application of mancozeb, mefenoxam, and azoxystrobin fungicides to determine their effects on early root and shoot growth, soil microbial communities, and nutrient uptake by plants. The study indicated that mancozeb soil application improved sugarcane-shoot and -root dry matter by 3–4 times and shoot-root length, fine-root length, and root surface area by 2–3 times compared to untreated soil. Phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analyses of sugarcane rhizosphere soil showed significant reduction in fungal-biomarker abundance with mancozeb and azoxystrobin in comparison to the untreated check or mefenoxam treatments. Bacterial functional-group abundance was reduced by mancozeb and mefenoxam. All fungicides significantly reduced mycorrhizal colonization but not mycorrhizal spore counts. There was a functional relationship between fine-root systems and higher tissue concentration of nitrogen and silicon. The study indicated that application of fungicides to the soil may improve early root and shoot growth and plant-cane establishment that can potentially reduce the yield decline in successively planted sugarcane in histosols. Additional field research is needed in the future to determine the fungicide soil application method, sugarcane growth response in whole crop cycles, and any environmental effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Salinity and Low Phosphorus Differentially Affect Shoot and Root Traits in Two Wheat Cultivars with Contrasting Tolerance to Salt
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080155
Received: 9 July 2018 / Revised: 8 August 2018 / Accepted: 17 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
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Abstract
Soil salinity and phosphorus (P) deficiency both have adverse effects on crop growth and productivity, but the interaction of soil salinity and P deficiency is not well known. Two P-inefficient wheat cultivars, Janz (salinity-tolerant) and Jandaroi (salinity-sensitive), grown in soil in rhizoboxes, were [...] Read more.
Soil salinity and phosphorus (P) deficiency both have adverse effects on crop growth and productivity, but the interaction of soil salinity and P deficiency is not well known. Two P-inefficient wheat cultivars, Janz (salinity-tolerant) and Jandaroi (salinity-sensitive), grown in soil in rhizoboxes, were treated with either 100 µM P (control), 100 mM NaCl (saline stress), 10 µM P (low P stress), or both NaCl and low P (combined stress), from 10 days after sowing (DAS) until harvest at 40 DAS. Significant reductions in leaf area, shoot and root biomass, tissue water and chlorophyll contents, gas exchange, and K+ and P acquisition at harvest were observed in the three treatments. The reduction was greater for low P supply than for salinity alone, but their interaction was not additive. The detrimental effects on root growth became apparent 10 days earlier in Jandaroi compared to Janz. Root length, root number, root length densities, and root number densities were higher in the upper 10 cm soil layer than in the lower layers for both cultivars. This study demonstrated that 10 µM P is more detrimental than 100 mM NaCl for shoot and root growth of both wheat cultivars irrespective of their difference in salinity tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Root and Shoot Traits in Wheat Cultivars with Putative Differences in Root System Size
Agronomy 2018, 8(7), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8070109
Received: 23 April 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 29 June 2018 / Published: 1 July 2018
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Abstract
Root system size is a key trait for improving water and nitrogen uptake efficiency in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). This study aimed (i) to characterize the root system and shoot traits of five wheat cultivars with apparent differences in root system size; [...] Read more.
Root system size is a key trait for improving water and nitrogen uptake efficiency in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). This study aimed (i) to characterize the root system and shoot traits of five wheat cultivars with apparent differences in root system size; (ii) to evaluate whether the apparent differences in root system size observed at early vegetative stages in a previous semi-hydroponic phenotyping experiment are reflected at later phenological stages in plants grown in soil using large rhizoboxes. The five wheat cultivars were grown in a glasshouse in rhizoboxes filled to 1.0 m with field soil. Phenology and shoot traits were measured and root growth and proliferation were mapped to quantify root length density (RLD), root length per plant, root biomass and specific root length (SRL). Wheat cultivars with large root systems had greater root length, more root biomass and thicker roots, particularly in the top 40 cm, than those with small root systems. Cultivars that reached anthesis later had larger root system sizes than those that reached anthesis earlier. Later anthesis allowed more time for root growth and proliferation. Cultivars with large root systems had 25% more leaf area and biomass than those with small root systems, which presumably reflects high canopy photosynthesis to supply the demand for carbon assimilates to roots. Wheat cultivars with contrasting root system sizes at the onset of tillering (Z2.1) in a semi-hydroponic phenotyping system maintained their size ranking at booting (Z4.5) when grown in soil. Phenology, particularly time to anthesis, was associated with root system size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Cereal Root Interactions with Soilborne Pathogens—From Trait to Gene and Back
Agronomy 2019, 9(4), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9040188
Received: 12 March 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 10 April 2019 / Published: 13 April 2019
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Abstract
Realizing the yield potential of crop plants in the presence of shifting pathogen populations, soil quality, rainfall, and other agro-environmental variables remains a challenge for growers and breeders worldwide. In this review, we discuss current approaches for combatting the soilborne phytopathogenic nematodes, Pratylenchus [...] Read more.
Realizing the yield potential of crop plants in the presence of shifting pathogen populations, soil quality, rainfall, and other agro-environmental variables remains a challenge for growers and breeders worldwide. In this review, we discuss current approaches for combatting the soilborne phytopathogenic nematodes, Pratylenchus and Heterodera of wheat and barley, and Meloidogyne graminicola Golden and Birchfield, 1965 of rice. The necrotrophic fungal pathogens, Rhizoctonia solani Kühn 1858 AG-8 and Fusarium spp. of wheat and barley, also are discussed. These pathogens constitute major causes of yield loss in small-grain cereals of the Pacific Northwest, USA and throughout the world. Current topics include new sources of genetic resistance, molecular leads from whole genome sequencing and genome-wide patterns of hosts, nematode or fungal gene expression during root-pathogen interactions, host-induced gene silencing, and building a molecular toolbox of genes and regulatory sequences for deployment of resistance genes. In conclusion, improvement of wheat, barley, and rice will require multiple approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessReview
Modelling Nitrogen Uptake in Plants and Phytoplankton: Advantages of Integrating Flexibility into the Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Nitrate Absorption
Agronomy 2019, 9(3), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9030116
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 27 February 2019
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Abstract
Under field conditions, plants need to optimize nutrient ion and water acquisition in their fluctuating environment. One of the most important variables involved in variations of ion uptake processes is temperature. It modifies the thermodynamic processes of root uptake and ion diffusion in [...] Read more.
Under field conditions, plants need to optimize nutrient ion and water acquisition in their fluctuating environment. One of the most important variables involved in variations of ion uptake processes is temperature. It modifies the thermodynamic processes of root uptake and ion diffusion in soil throughout day–night and ontogenetic cycles. Yet, most models of nitrogen (N) uptake in plants are built from set values of microscopic kinetic parameters, Vm and Km, derived from a Michaelis–Menten (MM) interpretation of nutrient isotherms. An isotherm is a curve depicting the response of root nitrate influx to external nitrate concentrations at a given temperature. Models using the MM formalism are based on several implicit assumptions that do not always hold, such as homothetic behavior of the kinetic parameters between the different root biological scales, i.e., the epidermis cell, root segments, root axes, and the whole root system. However, in marine phytoplankton, it has been clearly demonstrated that the macroscopic behavior in the nutrient uptake of a colony cannot be confounded with the microscopic behavior of individual cells, due to the cell diffusion boundary layer. The same is also true around plant root segments. Improved N uptake models should either take into account the flexibility of the kinetic parameters of nitrate uptake at the cellular level (porter–diffusion approach) or use the more realistic macroscopic kinetic parameters proposed by the flow–force approach. Here we present recent solutions proposed in marine phytoplankton and plant nutrient uptake models to make a more flexible description of the nutrient ion uptake process. Use of the mechanistic porter–diffusion approach developed in marine phytoplankton introduces more flexibility in response to cell characteristics and physical processes driven by temperature (diffusion and convection). The thermodynamic flow–force interpretation of plant-based nutrient uptake isotherms introduces more flexibility in response to environmental cues and root aging. These two approaches could help solve many problems that modelers encounter in these two research areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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