Submitted to: Digital Imaging and Spectral Techniques: Application to Precision Agriculture
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2003
Publication Date: 9/20/2003
Citation: MCMICHAEL, B.L., MACFALL, J., BURKE, J.J. MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING OF TEMPERATURE STRESSED COTTON ROOTS. Digital Imaging and Spectral Techniques: Application to Precision Agriculture. 2003. Interpretive Summary: The influence of environmental stress, such as changes in soil temperature, on the growth and development of plant root systems is very difficult to determine since the roots must be excavated to be measured. This study evaluated the utility of Magnetic Resonance Imaging techniques to observe differences in root development as a result of changes in soil temperature without the destructive sampling. The results indicated that the imaging system successfully determined differences in root systems of cotton plants grown at 18C versus 28C in fine root development. This technique has the potential, therefore, to be a useful tool in evaluating the impact of changes in the root environment on root system development.
Technical Abstract: Soil temperature is a major factor impacting the growth and function of plant root systems. Changes in root development in response to changes in soil temperature are difficult to assess on a dynamic basis since destructive sampling and disturbance of roots is necessary for any evaluation. This study evaluated the utility of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology in identifying the impact of soil temperature changes on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) root development in situ. A radio frequency coil tuned for high resolution images was constructed. Plants were grown in white sand in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubes for 30 days in the greenhouse with root temperatures at either 28 deg C or 18 deg C. Root development was evaluated by destructive sampling and compared with the root architecture identified by Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Both techniques showed proportional lateral root development and that total root length decreased in response to the low soil temperature (18 deg C). The results indicate that Magnetic Resonance Imaging can be a valuable tool in the determination of the response of cotton root systems to environmental stresses.