Submitted to: New Phytologist
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: August 13, 2003
Publication Date: November 1, 2003
Citation: Zobel, R.W. 2003. Fine-roots of plants - a revisionist's perspective. New Phytologist. Technical Abstract: Understanding the relationship between root growth and root functionality requires knowledge of root developmental patterns and turnover rates. A previous letter lamented the lack of knowledge in this area. Many attempts to acquire this knowledge have been published, but the continued research on the subject suggests that the answer is not in hand, yet. This letter suggests that the turnover rate is much higher than hypothesized, and that development of the smaller diameter roots involves distinct diameter classes. If the data, upon which these hypotheses are based, is confirmed, two conclusions about past research will be highlighted 1) Observation of fine root presence vs absence (i.e. turnover) has been to infrequent to document the actual turnover frequency of about two weeks, and 2) lumping roots into a generalized diameter class of, say, less than 1 mm diameter, obscures any inherent physiological differences between diameter classes less than 1 mm.