Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1007/s11104-012-1496-9
Title (Primary) Do roots mind the gap?
Author Carminati, A.; Vetterlein, D.; Koebernick, N.; Blaser, S.; Weller, U.; Vogel, H.-J.
Journal Plant and Soil
Year 2013
Department HDG; BOPHY
Volume 367
Issue 1-2
Page From 651
Page To 661
Language englisch
Keywords Root water uptake; Root-soil contact; Transpiration rate; Root shrinkage; X-ray CT
UFZ wide themes RU1
Abstract Aims
Roots need to be in good contact with the soil to take up water and nutrients. However, when the soil dries and roots shrink, air-filled gaps form at the root-soil interface. Do gaps actually limit the root water uptake, or do they form after water flow in soil is already limiting?
Four white lupins were grown in cylinders of 20 cm height and 8 cm diameter. The dynamics of root and soil structure were recorded using X-ray CT at regular intervals during one drying/wetting cycle. Tensiometers were inserted at 5 and 18 cm depth to measure soil matric potential. Transpiration rate was monitored by continuously weighing the columns and gas exchange measurements.Results Transpiration started to decrease at soil matric potential ψ between −5 kPa and −10 kPa. Air-filled gaps appeared along tap roots between ψ = −10 kPa and ψ = −20 kPa. As ψ decreased below −40 kPa, roots further shrank and gaps expanded to 0.1 to 0.35 mm. Gaps around lateral roots were smaller, but a higher resolution is required to estimate their size.
Gaps formed after the transpiration rate decreased. We conclude that gaps are not the cause but a consequence of reduced water availability for lupins.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Carminati, A., Vetterlein, D., Koebernick, N., Blaser, S., Weller, U., Vogel, H.-J. (2013):
Do roots mind the gap?
Plant Soil 367 (1-2), 651 - 661