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  • Vetterlein, D.  (4)
  • Weller, Ulrich  (4)
  • Rhizosphere
  • 1
    In: New Phytologist, November 2011, Vol.192(3), pp.653-663
    Description: • Despite the importance of rhizosphere properties for water flow from soil to roots, there is limited quantitative information on the distribution of water in the rhizosphere of plants. • Here, we used neutron tomography to quantify and visualize the water content in the rhizosphere of the plant species chickpea (Cicer arietinum), white lupin (Lupinus albus), and maize (Zea mays) 12 d after planting. • We clearly observed increasing soil water contents (θ) towards the root surface for all three plant species, as opposed to the usual assumption of decreasing water content. This was true for tap roots and lateral roots of both upper and lower parts of the root system. Furthermore, water gradients around the lower part of the roots were smaller and extended further into bulk soil compared with the upper part, where the gradients in water content were steeper. • Incorporating the hydraulic conductivity and water retention parameters of the rhizosphere into our model, we could simulate the gradual changes of θ towards the root surface, in agreement with the observations. The modelling result suggests that roots in their rhizosphere may modify the hydraulic properties of soil in a way that improves uptake under dry conditions.
    Keywords: Extent Of Rhizosphere ; Modelling ; Neutron Tomography ; Rhizosphere Hydraulic Properties ; Root Water Uptake ; Soil Moisture Profile ; Water Distribution
    ISSN: 0028-646X
    E-ISSN: 1469-8137
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Plant and Soil, 2010, Vol.332(1), pp.163-176
    Description: Water flow from soil to plants depends on the properties of the soil next to roots, the rhizosphere. Although several studies showed that the rhizosphere has different properties than the bulk soil, effects of the rhizosphere on root water uptake are commonly neglected. To investigate the rhizosphere’s properties we used neutron radiography to image water content distributions in soil samples planted with lupins during drying and subsequent rewetting. During drying, the water content in the rhizosphere was 0.05 larger than in the bulk soil. Immediately after rewetting, the picture reversed and the rhizosphere remained markedly dry. During the following days the water content of the rhizosphere increased and after 60 h it exceeded that of the bulk soil. The rhizosphere’s thickness was approximately 1.5 mm. Based on the observed dynamics, we derived the distinct, hysteretic and time-dependent water retention curve of the rhizosphere. Our hypothesis is that the rhizosphere’s water retention curve was determined by mucilage exuded by roots. The rhizosphere properties reduce water depletion around roots and weaken the drop of water potential towards roots, therefore favoring water uptake under dry conditions, as demonstrated by means of analytical calculation of water flow to a single root.
    Keywords: Root water uptake ; Water retention curve ; Rhizosphere ; Neutron radiography ; Mucilage ; Hysteresis
    ISSN: 0032-079X
    E-ISSN: 1573-5036
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2011, Vol.10(3), p.988
    Description: Recent studies have shown that rhizosphere hydraulic properties may differ from those of the bulk soil. Specifically, mucilage at the root-soil interface may increase the rhizosphere water holding capacity and hydraulic conductivity during drying. The goal of this study was to point out the implications of such altered rhizosphere hydraulic properties for soil-plant water relations. We addressed this problem through modeling based on a steady-rate approach. We calculated the water flow toward a single root assuming that the rhizosphere and bulk soil were two concentric cylinders having different hydraulic properties. Based on our previous experimental results, we assumed that the rhizosphere had higher water holding capacity and unsaturated conductivity than the bulk soil. The results showed that the water potential gradients in the rhizosphere were much smaller than in the bulk soil. The consequence is that the rhizosphere attenuated and delayed the drop in water potential in the vicinity of the root surface when the soil dried. This led to increased water availability to plants, as well as to higher effective conductivity under unsaturated conditions. The reasons were two: (i) thanks to the high unsaturated conductivity of the rhizosphere, the radius of water uptake was extended from the root to the rhizosphere surface; and (ii) thanks to the high soil water capacity of the rhizosphere, the water depletion in the bulk soil was compensated by water depletion in the rhizosphere. We conclude that under the assumed conditions, the rhizosphere works as an optimal hydraulic conductor and as a reservoir of water that can be taken up when water in the bulk soil becomes limiting.
    Keywords: Agriculture;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
    Source: CrossRef
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Vadose Zone Journal, 2009, Vol.8(3), p.805
    Description: It has been speculated that during periods of water deficit, roots may shrink and lose contact with the soil, with a consequent reduction in root water uptake. Due to the opaque nature of soil, however, this process has never been observed in situ for living plants. Through x-ray tomography and image analysis, we have demonstrated the formation and dynamics of air gaps around roots. The high spatial resolution required to image the soil–root gaps was achieved by combining tomography of the entire sample (field of view of 16 by 16 cm, pixel side 0.32 mm) with local tomography of the soil region around the roots (field of view of 5 by 5 cm, pixel side 0.09 mm). For a sandy soil, we found that when the soil dries to a water content of 0.025 m3 m–3, gaps occur around the taproot and the lateral roots of lupin (Lupinus albus L.). Gaps were larger for the taproot than the laterals and were caused primarily by root shrinkage rather than by soil shrinkage. When the soil was irrigated again, the roots swelled, partially refilling the gaps; however, large gaps persisted in the more proximal, older part of the taproot. Gaps are expected to reduce water transfers between soil and roots. Opening and closing of gaps may help plants to prevent water loss when the soil dries, and to restore the soil–root continuity when water becomes available. The persistence of gaps in the more proximal parts is one reason why roots preferentially take up water from their more distal parts. ; Includes references ; p. 805-809.
    Keywords: Soil Water Content ; Roots ; Soil-Plant Interactions ; Shrinkage ; Plants ; Translocation (Plant Physiology) ; Lupinus Albus ; Forage Legumes ; Spatial Variation ; Drought ; Water Stress ; Sandy Soils ; Water Uptake ; Computed Tomography ; Forage Crops ; Image Analysis ; Taproots;
    ISSN: Vadose Zone Journal
    E-ISSN: 1539-1663
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