Efficient root system for abiotic stress tolerance in crops

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Plant survival and fitness are dependent on root system architecture (RSA). In Australia, root systems of major agricultural crops are poorly adapted to soils that mostly have poor water holding capacity and nutrient deficiencies. Decreasing water availability due to drying and variable climate in the Australia's grain-belt exacerbates these soil-related stresses. Development of future crop genotypes with efficient root system for enhanced abiotic stress tolerance is essential for improved crop adaptation. Root traits that overcome abiotic constraints are critical to maintaining structural and functional properties, and are considered first order targets in breeding programmes for rainfed environments. Root traits, such as deep root systems, increased root density in subsoil, increased root hair length and density and / or xylem diameters, may contribute to enhanced water and nutrient uptake. Narrow-leafed lupin genotypes with increased capacity to take up water from deep soil horizons were linked to increased yield potential; similar relationship exists in wheat, soybean and upland rice. Modification of RSA could contribute to improvements of desirable agronomic traits such as yield, drought tolerance, and resistance to nutrient deficiencies. Wide-scale use of root-related genetic information in breeding programs relies on accurate phenotyping of relatively large mapping populations. Such large-scale phenotyping of root-related traits remain the most important issue in translating recent physiological and genetic advances in understanding the role of root systems in improved adaptation to abiotic stress and enhanced productivity of agricultural crops. (C) 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgriculture and Climate Change (AGRI 2015)
Subtitle of host publicationAdapting Crops to Increased Uncertainty
EditorsD Edwards
Place of PublicationNetherlands
PublisherElsevier Procedia
ISBN (Print)9781510812369
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event1st Agriculture and Climate Change Conference: Adapting Crops to Increased Uncertainty - Grand Ballroom NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 15 Feb 201517 Feb 2015

Publication series

NameProcedia Environmental Sciences


Conference1st Agriculture and Climate Change Conference


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