Submitted to: Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 30, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Plant roots grow under a wide range of environmental conditions. One of the most important soil factors that influence root growth is soil temperature. The ability of the root system to grow and function can be severely reduced at temperatures both above and below an optimum temperature. Research findings that are presented suggest that proper management techniques coupled with the use of modern biotechnology methods may be used to improve root growth and plant performance under a wide range of adverse soil temperature conditions.
Technical Abstract: Many environmental factors influence the growth and development of plant root systems. Among these factors are soil strength, soil water status and soil aeration. One of the most important factors is soil temperature. Plant roots grow in diverse thermal environments and relatively small changes in soil temperature can have a significant impact on the development of the root system depending on the stage of growth of the plant and the duration of the temperature change. Evidence is presented to show that both morphological changes and changes in root function such as water and nutrient uptake are influenced by changes in soil temperature. Genetic diversity in the growth of roots in response to temperature was also shown to occur and the potential for using this information for the enhancement of root growth and function under a broad range of temperatures was discussed. The utilization of molecular modifications of existing germplasm to improve root growth under adverse soil temperature conditions was presented for possible future research in this area.