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Determining deep root activity in arable fields by the core-labelling technique (CLT)

Han, Eusun; Dresbøll, Dorte Bodin and Thorup-Kristensen, Kristian (2018) Determining deep root activity in arable fields by the core-labelling technique (CLT). Poster at: ISRR-10 Exposing the Hidden Half, Israel, 8-12 July 2018.

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Summary

Introduction: Deep roots have the potential to exploit plant resources otherwise inaccessible. The aim of this study was to develop a method, the Core-Labelling Technique (CLT), to measure root activity down to 2.5 m of soil depth under field conditions.
Materials and Methods: Two stainless steel ingrowth-cores, 0.1 m in diameter and 0.55 m in length, were filled with soil labelled with nutrient tracers, i.e., LiCO3, CsCO3, Na2SeO4, RbCO3 and 15NH4Cl. The labelled cores were placed into an access-tube having openings at 1.0 m and 2.5 m of soil depth. They were kept under a lucerne (Medicago sativa) crop for 60 days, after which, the root length density (RLD) and concentration of tracers in shoot biomass (including a control) were measured.
Results: RLD of lucerne measured at 1.0 m and 2.5 m of soil depth were 0.022 and 0.007 cm cm-3, respec-tively. Effects of core-labelling on shoot samples were significant for 15N, Li, Cs and Se across the soil depth but not for Rb. On average 6 times higher concentration of 15N (‰) was found at the labelled spot compared to the control. Li and Cs (mg kg-1) at the labelled area showed 2 and 3 times higher concentration than the control, respectively. Regardless of the treatment, core-labelling at 1 m of soil depth resulted in higher concentration of 15N and Cs in comparison to 2.5 m of soil depth.
Discussion: To our knowledge, this report illustrates the deepest application of an ingrowth-core method as well as its first adoption of the tracer technique. Our results suggest that 15N, Li, Cs and Se can be feasible tracers for root activity detection in arable subsoil.
Conclusions: The CLT can be used as an effective tool for determination of root activity in arable subsoil. We suggest that root research should progress beyond the generic depth-scale in order to discover the relevant yet hidden function of deep roots in crops in the field.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Poster
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality > Soil biology
Soil > Nutrient turnover
Crop husbandry > Soil tillage
Farming Systems > Farm nutrient management
Research affiliation: Denmark > Private funders/foundations > Deep Frontier
Denmark > ICROFS - International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems
Denmark > KU - University of Copenhagen
Deposited By: Han, Dr. Eusun
ID Code:33942
Deposited On:20 Nov 2018 08:50
Last Modified:20 Nov 2018 08:50
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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