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: 30 November 2018

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 (3 papers)

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Research

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
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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
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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
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1548 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
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;
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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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