Plant roots sense soil compaction through restricted ethylene diffusion

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Pandey, B. K., Huang, G., Bhosale, R., Hartman, S., Sturrock, C., Jose, L., Martin, O. C., Karady, M., Voesenek, L. A. C. J., Ljung, K., Lynch, J. P., Brown, K. M, Whalley, W. R., Mooney, S. J., Zhang, D. and Bennett, M. J. 2021. Plant roots sense soil compaction through restricted ethylene diffusion. Science . 371 (6526), p. 276–280. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abf3013

AuthorsPandey, B. K., Huang, G., Bhosale, R., Hartman, S., Sturrock, C., Jose, L., Martin, O. C., Karady, M., Voesenek, L. A. C. J., Ljung, K., Lynch, J. P., Brown, K. M, Whalley, W. R., Mooney, S. J., Zhang, D. and Bennett, M. J.
Abstract

Soil compaction represents a major challenge for modern agriculture. Compaction is intuitively thought to reduce root growth by limiting the ability of roots to penetrate harder soils. We report that root growth in compacted soil is instead actively suppressed by the volatile hormone ethylene. We found that mutant Arabidopsis and rice roots that were insensitive to ethylene penetrated compacted soil more effectively than did wild-type roots. Our results indicate that soil compaction lowers gas diffusion through a reduction in air-filled pores, thereby causing ethylene to accumulate in root tissues and trigger hormone responses that restrict growth. We propose that ethylene acts as an early warning signal for roots to avoid compacted soils, which would be relevant to research into the breeding of crops resilient to soil compaction

Year of Publication2021
JournalScience
Journal citation371 (6526), p. 276–280
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abf3013
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeDesigning Future Wheat - WP1 - Increased efficiency and sustainability
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online15 Jan 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted08 Dec 2020

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