Root foraging capacity depends on root system architecture and ontogeny in seedlings of three Andean Chenopodium species

Abstract : Aims Morphological and ontogenetic variation in root system architecture holds ecological significance, particularly in low-resource habitats where soil rooting is critical for both seedling establishment and water and nutrient uptake. To assess this variation under contrasted agroeco-logical backgrounds, root architecture and rooting patterns were compared in Andean populations of Chenopodium hircinum, Chenopodium pallidicaule and two ecotypes (wet-and dry-habitat) of Chenopodium quinoa. Methods Seedlings were grown in rhizotrons under controlled water and nutrient availability. Root branching and elongation dynamics were characterized during 6 weeks after germination, while leaf area, above and below-ground biomass, and specific root length were determined at the end of the experiment. Results Despite large differences in aboveground bio-mass, all populations showed similar herringbone root systems. The dry-habitat C. quinoa had generally the highest root trait values, with fast taproot elongation, thick roots and long root segments resulting in high total root length and deep root proliferation. Conclusion Irrespective of their contrasting agroecolog-ical background, the studied chenopods displayed a similar root system topology. However, from very early development stages, they showed differential root foraging patterns with two extremes: fast and vigourous rooting at depth in the dry-habitat C. quinoa, and shallow and thin root system in C. pallidicaule adapted to shallow-soil and high-altitude habitats.
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Ricardo Alvarez-Flores, Thierry Winkel, Anh Nguyen-Thi-Truc, Richard Joffre, R Alvarez, et al.. Root foraging capacity depends on root system architecture and ontogeny in seedlings of three Andean Chenopodium species. Plant and Soil, Springer Verlag, 2014, ⟨10.1007/s11104-014-2105-x⟩. ⟨ird-02381068v2⟩

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