Novel root phenotyping platform

Press/Media: Press / Media

Period1 Aug 2010

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleBetter root traits to be found in rubbish bins
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletThe UWA Institute of Agriculture Newsletter
    Media typeWeb
    DescriptionA novel phenotyping platform to map root growth of narrow-leafed lupin in rubbish bins has been established at UWA.

    One of the aims of this ARC Discovery project is to characterise root traits associated with increased efficiency of capturing water and phosphorus by crops growing in soils with limiting and heterogeneous supply of these resources. A core collection of narrow-leafed lupin (Lupinus angustifolius L.) comprising 125 genotypes selected for diversity by DArT (Diversity Array Technology) was screened for root traits in a novel ‘bin’ system at the UWA glasshouse.

    The system uses 240-L mobile bins and allows root growth of up to 1-m depth, with repeated observations and measurements of 2-D root structure without the need for destructive sampling. It permits digital mapping of growth dynamics of tap and lateral roots over time. This growing system overcomes the long-standing unsolved problem of phenotyping large sets of genotypes for rooting traits, which is particularly important for identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) and characterization of molecular markers that may be useful in breeding. The extensive data sets acquired from our growth system can be used in root growth models, such as ROOTMAP (UWA) and SimRoot (Pennsylvania State University, USA) that simulate 3-D root structure and function relevant to acquiring water and nutrients from a heterogeneous soil profile.

    The follow-up modelling experiments with selected genotypes that have interesting root traits will enable simulation of root structure and function in drying and/or P-deficient environments to develop a computer-aided design of efficient root systems suited to particular environments. This approach has the potential to revolutionise the field of breeding for desirable root traits by reducing the time taken to produce superior genotypes.
    Producer/AuthorDr Yinglong Chen
    PersonsYinglong Chen