Great potential exists to harness plant traits at the root-soil interface, mainly rhizodeposition and root hairs, to 'build' soils with better structure that can trap more carbon and resources, resist climate stresses, and promote a healthy microbiome. These traits appear to have been preserved in modern crop varieties, but scope exists to improve them further because they vary considerably between genotypes and respond to environmental conditions. From emerging evidence, rhizodeposition can act as a disperser, aggregator, and/or hydrogel in soil, and root hairs expand rhizosheath size. Future research should explore impacts of selecting these traits on plants and soils concurrently, expanding from model plants to commercial genotypes, and observing whether impacts currently limited to glasshouse studies occur in the field.
- soil structure
- root hair