The emergent rhizosphere: imaging the development of the porous architecture at the root-soil interface

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Helliwell, J. R., Sturrock, C. J., Mairhofer, S., Craigon, J., Ashton, R. W., Miller, A. J., Whalley, W. R. and Mooney, S. J. 2017. The emergent rhizosphere: imaging the development of the porous architecture at the root-soil interface. Scientific Reports. 7, p. 14875. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-14904-w

AuthorsHelliwell, J. R., Sturrock, C. J., Mairhofer, S., Craigon, J., Ashton, R. W., Miller, A. J., Whalley, W. R. and Mooney, S. J.
Abstract

The rhizosphere is the zone of soil influenced by a plant root and is critical for plant health and nutrient acquisition. All below ground resources must pass through this dynamic zone prior to their capture by plant roots. However, researching the undisturbed rhizosphere has proved very challenging. Here we compare the temporal changes to the intact rhizosphere pore structure during the emergence of a developing root system in different soils. High resolution X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) was used to quantify the impact of root development on soil structural change, at scales relevant to individual micro-pores and aggregates (μm). A comparison of micro-scale structural evolution in homogenously packed soils highlighted the impacts of a penetrating root system in changing the surrounding porous architecture and morphology. Results indicate the structural zone of influence of a root can be more localised than previously reported (μm scale rather than mm scale). With time, growing roots significantly alter the soil physical environment in their immediate vicinity through reducing root-soil contact and crucially increasing porosity at the root-soil interface and not the converse as has often been postulated. This ‘rhizosphere pore structure’ and its impact on associated dynamics are discussed.

Year of Publication2017
JournalScientific Reports
Journal citation7, p. 14875
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-14904-w
PubMed ID 29093533
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or code[20:20 Wheat] Maximising yield potential of wheat
BB/JJ004553/1
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online01 Nov 2017
Publication process dates
Accepted17 Oct 2017
PublisherNature Publishing Group
Copyright licenseCC BY
ISSN2045-2322

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