When Roots Lose Contact

  title={When Roots Lose Contact},
  author={Andrea Carminati and Doris Vetterlein and Ulrich Weller and Hans‐J{\"o}rg Vogel and Sascha E. Oswald},
  journal={Vadose Zone Journal},
  pages={805 - 809}
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… 
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Do roots mind the gap?
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Visualising and quantifying rhizosphere processes: root-soil contact and water uptake.
Root-soil contact is vital for water transport via liquid films. X-ray microtomography potentially makes it possible to study the root-soil interface non-invasively. This paper presents first
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Results show that although the root penetration mechanisms can lead to soil densification (which could have a negative impact on growth), the immediate root–soil interface is actually a zone of high porosity, which is very important for several key rhizosphere processes occurring at this scale including water and nutrient uptake and gaseous diffusion.
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The emergent rhizosphere: imaging the development of the porous architecture at the root-soil interface
Results indicate the structural zone of influence of a root can be more localised than previously reported (µm scale rather than mm scale) and with time, growing roots significantly alter the soil physical environment in their immediate vicinity.
Rhizosphere wettability decreases with root age: a problem or a strategy to increase water uptake of young roots?
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Hydraulic conductivity of the root-soil interface of lupin in sandy soil after drying and rewetting
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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
A multi-imaging approach to study the root-soil interface.
The results suggest that the combined imaging set-up developed here, incorporating fluorescence intensity measurements, is able to map important biogeochemical parameters in the soil around living plants with a spatial resolution that is sufficiently high enough to relate the patterns observed to the root system.


SUMMARY Experimental data published previously (Faiz and Weatherley, 1977) emphasized the existence of considerable hydraulic resistance in the perirhizal soil of rapidly transpiring plants. This
Microsensing of Water Dynamics and Root Distributions in Sandy Soils
Comprehensive understanding of water and nutrient transport in the rhizosphere is important because water use is a major societal and environmental concern. Studying these processes has been slow,
The Effect of Root Shrinkage on Soil Water Inflow
  • P. Nye
  • Environmental Science
  • 1994
As a soil dries, the roots growing in it may shrink and retain only partial contact with the soil. The steady-state model described here calculates the effect of root shrinkage on the water inflow
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Changes in Soil Water Content Resulting from Ricinus Root Uptake Monitored by Magnetic Resonance Imaging
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Air gaps could benefit A. deserti by helping to maintain a higher root water potential in the early stages of drought and later by limiting root water loss at the root-soil interface when the water potential exceeds that of the soil.
Rhizodeposition of organic C by plants: mechanisms and controls
During their life, plant roots release organic compounds in their surrounding environment. This process, named rhizodeposition, is of ecological importance because (1) it is a loss of reduced C for