Annals of Botany

Root system architecture of oilseed rape under two phosphate availabilities

One important adaptation of plants to Phosphorus (P) deficiency is to alter root system architecture (RSA) to increase P acquisition from the soil, but soil-based observations of RSA are technically challenging, especially in mature plants.

Brassica roots
Polycarbonate plate root system architecture (plate RSA) of ‘Zhongshuang11’ (Brassica napus L.) at the budding stage at high phosphorus (HP), 134 d after sowing. Primary roots (i) and lateral (ii) roots are indicated. Photo: Pan et al. (2016)

Pan et al. developed a new large Brassica-rhizotron system to study RSA dynamics of B. napus in soils at low and high P. RSA parameters measured in polycarbonate plate roots were empirically consistent with analyses of excavated roots. Given that root senescence is likely to occur earlier at low P, crop P deficiency is likely to affect late water and nitrogen uptake.

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