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Root growth in biopores—evaluation with in situ endoscopy

Athmann, Miriam, Kautz, Timo, Pude, Ralf, Köpke, Ulrich
Plant and soil 2013 v.371 no.1-2 pp. 179-190
Brassica napus var. napus, Hordeum vulgare, barley, crops, direct contact, endoscopy, root growth, roots, soil
Background and aims: The significance of biopores for nutrient acquisition from the subsoil depends on root-soil contact, which in turn is influenced by root architecture. The aim of this study was to detect differences regarding the architecture and root-soil contact of homorhizous barley roots (Hordeum vulgare L.) and allorhizous oilseed rape roots (Brassica napus L.) growing in biopores. Methods: In situ endoscopy was used as a technique that allows non-destructive display of pore wall characteristics and root morphology inside large biopores under field conditions. Results: For both crops, about 85 % of all roots did establish contact to the pore wall. However, according to their different root architecture, the two crops varied in their strategy of resource acquisition: While barley was characterized by thin vertical or ingrowing roots, most of them in direct contact to the pore wall, oilseed rape established contact to the pore wall predominantly via lateral roots. Conclusions: Root morphological and pore wall assessment with in situ endoscopy in combination with detailed studies of soil biochemical and soil physical parameters of the pore wall is considered an essential prerequisite for more precise future modelling of nutrient acquisition and uptake. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.