Soil structure has a greater effect on the rooting of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) than nitrogen fertilisation rate or genotype

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Mawodza, T., Zhou, H., Atkinson, B. S., Atkinson, J. A., Sturrock, C. J., Riche, A. B., Whalley, W. R., Hawkesford, M. J., Cooper, H. and Mooney, S. J. 2023. Soil structure has a greater effect on the rooting of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) than nitrogen fertilisation rate or genotype. Rhizosphere. 27, p. 100770. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rhisph.2023.100770

AuthorsMawodza, T., Zhou, H., Atkinson, B. S., Atkinson, J. A., Sturrock, C. J., Riche, A. B., Whalley, W. R., Hawkesford, M. J., Cooper, H. and Mooney, S. J.
Abstract

Despite extensive research over the last century concerning the application of nitrogen fertilizer to support the production of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), our understanding on how this impacts on root growth in subsoils is limited. In this study, we investigated how different rates of nitrogen fertilization (100, 200 and 350 kg/ha N) affected the root and shoot growth of three different wheat genotypes. We collected field soil cores to a depth of 100 cm and scanned them using X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) to quantify the volume of macropores and stony material. The collected soil cores were then destructively segmented to determine root number density. Our results showed nitrogen fertilization rate had a limited effect on root growth and proliferation in both the topsoil and subsoil. Furthermore, wheat genotype did not play a significant role in determining root growth at any depth, with no significant differences between the different genotypes. However, soil macroporosity was positively correlated to root number density, accounting for 48% of the variation. Our results provide evidence that soil management (e.g. cultivation techniques) may be the key to improving subsoil rooting regardless of crop genotype and nitrogen rates applied.

KeywordsWheat; Nitrogen rate ; X-ray Computed Tomography ; Macroporosity ; Stones
Year of Publication2023
JournalRhizosphere
Journal citation27, p. 100770
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rhisph.2023.100770
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Funder project or codeDesigning Future Wheat - WP1 - Increased efficiency and sustainability
Delivering Sustainable Wheat
WGIN 4 (Wheat Genetic Improvement Network 4) [2018-2023]
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online23 Aug 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted03 Aug 2023
PublisherElsevier
ISSN2452-2198

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