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The University of Southampton
Interdisciplinary Research Excellence

Exploring the rhizosphere: Imaging plant-soil interactions using X-ray CT Event

24 June 2016
Building 85, Room 2209 Highfield Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BJ

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Event details

Although roots play a crucial role in plant growth and development through their acquisition and delivery of water and nutrients to the above-ground organs, our understanding of how they interact with their immediate soil environment largely remains a mystery as the opaque nature of soil has prevented undisturbed in situ root visualisation. The use of non-invasive techniques such as X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) means that it is now possible to visualise a growing root within an undisturbed soil core. X-ray CT is a technique that enables non-destructive 3-D investigations into root: soil interactions at the micro-scale. By imaging the actual 3D geometries of the soil structure and visualising the interfaces between roots, soil, water and air filled pores an accurate representation of water movement and root growth in soil is achieved. Previous commonly employed destructive methods for root studies, such as root washing could not provide detailed information on root architecture, including branching characteristics and extension rate, which are inherently linked to conditions within the soil matrix. Therefore this technique can enable root phenotyping of different crop species and varieties in soil. This information is crucial if laboratory research is to be translated to an understanding of responses under field conditions.

Speaker information

Dr Saoirse Tracy,University of Dublin,.

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