Submitted to: Plant and Soil
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 10, 2012
Publication Date: May 27, 2012
Citation: Zobel, R.W. 2012. Lolium pereene L. root systems are a collection of Gaussian curve shaped meso diameter class length distributions. Plant and Soil. DOI:10.1007/s11104-012-1298-0. Interpretive Summary: There is a critical need to increase food production throughout the world. Much of this will have to take place by utilizing land that is only marginally suitable for agriculture. Improving crops to tolerate these soils will require a much more extensive knowledge of the genetic and development patterns of plant roots. This paper uses perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), a major component of pastures and lawns, as a model system to demonstrate one part of the developmental patterns of grass roots. The research demonstrates that the root system is made up of discrete classes of root that can behave differently from each other. This conclusion will assist plant breeders in their analysis of the products of breeding research, and will therefore potentiate the needed improvement of grasses for use on marginal lands.
Technical Abstract: The world wide need for increased production of food requires a combination of increasing land (usually marginal) turned to agriculture or increased productivity and sustainability of crops on existing agricultural land. Grasses make up an important part of the food directly consumed by humans and animals both. If breeding for tolerance to marginal soils or for increased production is to be carried out, much more knowledge about grass root systems is needed. Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) is an important pasture species in Europe and the Eastern U.S. Perennial ryegrass root systems are not made up of a continuous distribution of root diameters, but rather, are made up of a collection of discontinuous meso-diameter classes that can each be modeled as normal (Gaussian) curves. Perennial ryegrass root research which links root morphology to root function must image the roots at, at least, 200 p mm-1 to be able to document the meso-diameter classes involved and to describe the pattern of response to imposed rhizosphere environments.