Submitted to: Plant Roots The Hidden Half
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The development of the root system of plants is critical to the development of the whole plant and in the determination of productivity. There are many factors that influence the growth of plant roots, but one of the most important is changes in soil temperature. Genetic diversity both within and between species in the response of root systems to soil temperature is discussed in the review as well as tools that can be used to screen for diversity in temperature response that may lead to the development of new varieties of plants with improved root systems that function and produce under a broader range of soil temperature stresses.
Technical Abstract: There are many factors that can influence the growth of root systems. These may include soil water, soil compaction, soil aeration, and soil nutrient status. One of the most important factors however, is soil temperature. Soil temperature can change not only as a function of changes in air temperature but management practices such as tillage and irrigation can impact the soil temperature which in turn can affect the growth of plant roots. In this review, the genetic diversity in the temperature response between and within species is discussed along with a discussion of screening tools used for evaluating genetic differences. Root metabolic responses to changes in soil temperature is also discussed as is the interaction of soil microorganisms, specifically mycorrhizae, with root systems under temperature stress.