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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Aiken, Robert
item Smucker, Alvin

Submitted to: Annual Review of Phytopathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Recent evidence confirms that plant root systems provide "signals" of the soil environment that modify whole plant growth rates. The growing tips of roots are thought to "sense" soil supply of water and nutrients, as well as soil "hardness" and temperature. Knowledge of root signals and their effects on plant growth can guide crop system management to minimize effects of environmental stress and improve integrated pest management.

Technical Abstract: New evidence confirms earlier postulates that root signals to shoots, including abscisic acid, nitrate flux, and cytokinins, modify whole plant growth processes including leaf expansion, stomatal behavior and biosynthesis of photosynthetic enzymes. Root signals are thought to reflect soil water, nutrient and mechanical attributes, as sensed by roots. .Meristematic activities in root tips initiate changes in root architecture modifying the soil volume subject to root uptake, and may provide multiple sensory and signaling capabilities. Knowledge of root signals regulating whole plant growth processes suggests new analytical and experimental tools for integrated analysis of plant phasic development, optimal growth, and ecological fitness.

Last Modified: 10/20/2017
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