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Title: Root responses to soil physical conditions and the role of root-particle contact
Author: Schmidt, Sonja
Awarding Body: University of Abertay Dundee
Current Institution: Abertay University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis considers the elongation of root and shoots in relation to matric potential and soil strength in contrasting species. The role of root- particle contact for root and shoot elongation in relation to pm1icle/aggregate size and bulk density at various matric potentials is discussed. Root and shoot elongation of maize and lupin in soil and vermiculite at matric potentials ranging from -0.03 MPa to -1.6 MPa were investigated. Both root and shoot elongation rate of maize and lupin were significantly slower in venniculite than in soil (p <0.00 I). As vermiculite has very different particle size distribution and hydraulic properties from soil, the degree of contact between root and venniculite was thought to provide a possible explanation for the slower elongation rates. A new method was developed to quantify root-particle contact using X-ray microtomography and verified using 'phantoms' (model systems of known dimensions). Root- particle contact was approximately 25 % greater in soil than in venniculite. The greater root-particle contact in soil was thought to provide better growth conditions than in vermiculite. Root and shoot elongation were examined when plants were place in humid ail' above an osmotic solution (KCI) to evaluate the degree to which root elongation could occur in the absence of solution contact. No significant shoot elongation occurred and root elongation was more reduced than in venniculite.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available