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Berlin Brandenburg

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  • 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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