This title appears in the Scientific Report : 2015 

Water uptake of main root segments in a multiple compartment root container
van Dusschoten, Dagmar (Corresponding author)
Kochs, Johannes / Pflugfelder, Daniel / Koller, Robert / Postma, Johannes Auke
Pflanzenwissenschaften; IBG-2
9th International Symposium of International Society of Root Research, Canberra (Australia), 2015-10-06 - 2015-10-09
Conference Presentation
Plant Science
IntroductionThe root hydraulic conductances, and how they are affected by root anatomy and or root aging, are currently poorly understood, despite the importance of the hydraulic conductivities for water uptake, especially in drought environments. Here we describe a multi compartment container that reduces root intermingling and minimizes water movement between soil compartments. Additionally, a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) compatible soil water sensor was developed which can be inserted into each compartment for soil water monitoring.MethodsWe constructed a multi compartment container (up to 13 compartments) filled with quartz sand and mixed with sieved loamy soil taken from an agricultural plot (9:1). MRI was used to quantify root development within each compartment as was the local amount of soil water in each compartment. The soil water content was also monitored using home designed soil water sensors which readings used to adjust the water content in each compartment during growth. Results and discussionUsage of this soil mix allowed visualization of a major fraction of Brachypodium laterals. Maize plant growth was not obviously changed by the multi compartment container during 6 weeks of growth. Root development was successfully measured within each compartment and the water content was monitored at different growth stages using optimized MRI protocols. During growth the soil water content for each compartment could be adjusted according to the readings of the soil water sensors that were also found not to diminish MRI image quality.ConclusionThe combination of a multi compartment container, MRI measurements of roots and soil water and the use of newly designed soil water sensors, allows the monitoring of root water uptake of individual root segments. This combination is therefore promising to study the effects of root age and anatomy on water uptake and the effects of nutrients on growth of different root classes.