Contributions of roots and rootstocks to sustainable, intensified crop production

Peter J. Gregory, Christopher J. Atkinson, A. Glyn Bengough, Mark A. Else, Felicidad Fernandez-Fernandez, Richard J. Harrison, Sonja Schmidt

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    78 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Sustainable intensification is seen as the main route for meeting the worlds increasing demands for food and fibre. As demands mount for greater efficiency in the use of resources to achieve this goal, so the focus on roots and rootstocks and their role in acquiring water and nutrients, and overcoming pests and pathogens, is increasing. The purpose of this review is to explore some of the ways in which understanding root systems and their interactions with soils could contribute to the development of more sustainable systems of intensive production. Physical interactions with soil particles limit root growth if soils are dense, but rootsoil contact is essential for optimal growth and uptake of water and nutrients. X-ray microtomography demonstrated that maize roots elongated more rapidly with increasing rootsoil contact, as long as mechanical impedance was not limiting root elongation, while lupin was less sensitive to changes in rootsoil contact. In addition to selecting for root architecture and rhizosphere properties, the growth of many plants in cultivated systems is profoundly affected by selection of an appropriate rootstock. Several mechanisms for scion control by rootstocks have been suggested, but the causal signals are still uncertain and may differ between crop species. Linkage map locations for quantitative trait loci for disease resistance and other traits of interest in rootstock breeding are becoming available. Designing root systems and rootstocks for specific environments is becoming a feasible target.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1209-1222
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
    Volume64
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

    Keywords

    • resource use
    • rootshoot communication
    • XYLEM SAP
    • rootsoil contact
    • FIRE BLIGHT RESISTANCE
    • HYDRAULIC CONDUCTANCE
    • QTL
    • APPLE ROOTSTOCKS
    • Biopores
    • rootstock
    • SHOOT GROWTH
    • WINTER-WHEAT
    • root distribution
    • ABSCISIC-ACID
    • LONG-DISTANCE TRAFFICKING
    • SOIL CONTACT
    • root systems
    • THIN-SECTION TECHNIQUE

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