Bottom-up perspective: The role of roots and rhizosphere in climate change adaptation and mitigation in agroecosystems

Tim George, Davide Bulgarelli, Andrea Carminati, Yqinglong Chen, Davey L. Jones, Yakov Kuzyakov, Andrea Schnepf, M Wissuwa, Tiina Roose

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Climate change is happening and causing severe impact on the sustainability of agroecosystems. We argue that many of the abiotic stresses associated with climate change will be most acutely perceived by the plant at the root-soil interface and are likely to be mitigated at this globally important interface. In this review we will focus on the direct impacts of climate change, temperature, drought and pCO2, on roots and rhizospheres. We consider which belowground traits will be impacted and discuss the potential for monitoring and quantifying these traits for modelling and breeding programs. We discuss the specific impacts of combined stress and the role of the microbial communities populating the root-soil interface, collectively referred to as the rhizosphere microbiota, in interactions with roots under stress and discuss the plastic responses to stress as a way of adapting plants to climate change. We then go on to discuss the role that modelling has in understanding this complex problem and suggest the best belowground targets for adaptation and mitigation to climate change. We finish by considering where the main uncertainties lie, providing perspective on where research is needed. This review therefore focuses on the potential of roots and rhizosphere to adapt to the climate change effects and to mitigate their negative impacts on plant growth, crop productivity, soil health and ecosystem services.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalPlant and Soil
Early online date4 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2024


  • plant roots
  • rhizosphere functions
  • climate change mitigation
  • adaptation
  • food security


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