Advances in understanding plant root hairs in relation to nutrient acquisition and crop root function

Timothy S. George, Lawrie K Brown, A. Glyn Bengough

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Root hairs are found on most terrestrial flowering plant species. They form from epidermal cells at a predetermined distance behind the growing root tip in three main patterns. Their presence, pattern, length, density and function are genetically controlled and numerous genes are expressed solely in root hairs. Their growth and proliferation are attenuated by the environment and root hairs growing in soil are generally shorter and less dense than those in laboratory studies. Root hairs have a number of functions including anchorage, root soil contact and bracing to enable roots to penetrate hard soils. However, their primary function is acquisition of nutrients and water, in particular phosphate. They are the site of transporters, exudation of active compounds and infection point of symbiotic microbial interactions. They have a profound effect on rhizosphere characteristics and are a potentially useful target for breeding crops for future agricultural sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding and improving crop root function
EditorsPeter Gregory
PublisherBurleigh Dodds Science Publishing
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)9781786769930
ISBN (Print)9781786763600
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2021

Publication series

NameBurleigh Dodds Series in Agricultural Science


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