Review: Soil compaction and the architectural plasticity of root systems (J Exp Bot)

Root system architecture (RSA) describes the spatial arrangement of root components within the soil. RSA is useful to understand the exploration of the plant to get nutrients and water through the soil space. In a new review, Correa et al. discuss RSA plasticity in response to soil compaction, which is the process where the distance between the soil particles is minimal. Soil compaction causes a reduction of root growth, length and proliferation and increases the diameter and number of roots. It also affects root angle, root tortuosity, and root hair growth, as well as the root-to-shoot ration. The authors evaluate whether the changes in RSA are due to growth inhibition (“apparent plasticity”) or confer advantages (“adpative plasticity”). Adaptive plasticity of RSA might be of great value for breeding plants that are more tolerant to soil compaction.  (Summary by Mugdha Sabale) J. Exp. Bot.  10.1093/jxb/erz383