Submitted to: Annual Beet Sugar Development Foundation Research Report
Publication Type: Research Notes
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2006
Publication Date: 7/1/2006
Citation: Stevanato, P., McGrath, J.M., Saccomani, M., Biancardi, E. 2006. Root plasticity to nutritional stress in Mediterranean sea beet. 2005 Annual Beet Sugar Development Foundation Research Report. p. D28-D35.
Technical Abstract: Knowledge of root adaptive responses to nutritional stress is required to improve yield stability of sugarbeet. The aim of this research was a comparative study of the root morpho-physiological plasticity among two sea beet populations collected on poor- and nutrient-rich habitats of the Adriatic coast of Italy and a sugarbeet variety. To evaluate the root plasticity pattern, we measured root traits of 12-day-old seedlings grown on complete hydroponic solutions as well as nutritionally deprived solutions. After both phosphate and sulfate deprivation, individuals from nutrient-poor habitats display the highest increase for total root length and number of root tips than population from nutrient-rich habitats and cultivated variety. The nutrient-poor population also displays the superior increase of fine roots (average diameter <0.5 mm) after P- and S-deprivation. These results indicated a higher root plasticity of the plants from nutrient-poor than -rich habitats and, therefore, the former plants could be better able to capture the nutrients from low fertility soils. The comparative analysis of the plastic response of the above parameters to nutritional stress is a promising approach toward the identification of root adaptive traits to nutritional stress useful for sugarbeet improvement.