High resolution synchrotron imaging of wheat root hairs growing in soil and image based modelling of phosphate uptake

Authors

  • Samuel D. Keyes,

    1. Engineering Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
    2. Crop Systems Engineering Group, Institute for Life Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.
  • Keith R. Daly,

    1. Engineering Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
    2. Crop Systems Engineering Group, Institute for Life Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.
  • Neil J. Gostling,

    1. Crop Systems Engineering Group, Institute for Life Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
    2. Centre for Biological Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.
  • Davey L. Jones,

    1. School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, University of Bangor, Bangor, Gwynedd, UK
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  • Peter Talboys,

    1. School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, University of Bangor, Bangor, Gwynedd, UK
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  • Bernd R. Pinzer,

    1. Swiss Light Source, Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI), 5232 Villigen-PSI, Switzerland
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  • Richard Boardman,

    1. Engineering Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
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  • Ian Sinclair,

    1. Engineering Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
    2. Crop Systems Engineering Group, Institute for Life Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
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  • Alan Marchant,

    1. Crop Systems Engineering Group, Institute for Life Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
    2. Centre for Biological Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
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  • Tiina Roose

    Corresponding author
    1. Crop Systems Engineering Group, Institute for Life Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
    • Engineering Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
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Author for correspondence:

Tiina Roose

Tel: +44 2380592374

Email: t.roose@soton.ac.uk

Summary

  • Root hairs are known to be highly important for uptake of sparingly soluble nutrients, particularly in nutrient deficient soils. Development of increasingly sophisticated mathematical models has allowed uptake characteristics to be quantified. However, modelling has been constrained by a lack of methods for imaging live root hairs growing in real soils.
  • We developed a plant growth protocol and used Synchrotron Radiation X-ray Tomographic Microscopy (SRXTM) to uncover the three-dimensional (3D) interactions of root hairs in real soil. We developed a model of phosphate uptake by root hairs based directly on the geometry of hairs and associated soil pores as revealed by imaging.
  • Previous modelling studies found that root hairs dominate phosphate uptake. By contrast, our study suggests that hairs and roots contribute equally. We show that uptake by hairs is more localized than by roots and strongly dependent on root hair and aggregate orientation.
  • The ability to image hair–soil interactions enables a step change in modelling approaches, allowing a more realistic treatment of processes at the scale of individual root hairs in soil pores.

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