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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Research project: Exploring the influence of the plant lateral root gravitropic set point angle on architecture in soils using X-Ray Computed Tomography

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The architecture of the root system of a plant is an important determinant of its ability to access and take up minerals and water from the soil environment. X-Ray Computed Tomography  provides a method to be able to visualise roots growing in situ in soils providing valuable information about their relationship with the soil particles.  

The plant root system is  essential for the uptake of nutrients and water from the soils in which they grow. Our current understanding of how roots and root hairs explore the soil and access nutrients is relatively limited due to the inherent difficulties in visualising roots in an opaque growth medium. X-Ray Computed Tomography (X-ray CT) imaging provides the potential to generate accurate 3-dimensional reconstructions of root systems without the need to remove them from the soil. The information obtained will provide realistic data representative of field grown crops which will be used to improve the current models for nutrient uptake from soils. The X-ray CT approach is being optimised for a variety of plant species including Arabidopsis, wheat and pea.

Funding:  BBSRC Strategic Tools Development Research Fund. 01/12/11 to 31/03/13

 

Related research groups

Environmental Biosciences
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