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Contributions of roots and rootstocks to sustainable, intensified crop production

Contributions of roots and rootstocks to sustainable, intensified crop production

Gregory, Peter J., Atkinson, Christopher J., Bengough, A. Glyn, Else, Mark A., Fernandez-Fernandez, Felicidad, Harrison, Richard J. and Schmidt, Sonja (2013) Contributions of roots and rootstocks to sustainable, intensified crop production. Journal of Experimental Botany, 64 (5). pp. 1209-1222. ISSN 0022-0957 (Print), 1460-2431 (Online) (doi:

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Sustainable intensification is seen as the main route for meeting the world’s 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 root–soil contact is essential for optimal growth and
uptake of water and nutrients. X-ray microtomography demonstrated that maize roots elongated more rapidly with
increasing root–soil contact, as long as mechanical impedance was not limiting root elongation, while lupin was less
sensitive to changes in root–soil 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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] Acknowledgements (funding): East Malling Research is supported financially by the East Malling Trust, and the James Hutton Institute receives funding from the Scottish Government. [2] Copyright:© The Author [2013]. Published by Oxford University Press [on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology]. All rights reserved. [3] Published on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology
Uncontrolled Keywords: biopores, QTL, resource use, root distribution, rootstock, root-shoot communication, root-soil contact, root systems
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
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Last Modified: 17 Jul 2015 15:24
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