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Root methods for intercropping

Hassan, Affendy (2020) Root methods for intercropping. PhD thesis, University of Copenhagen , Plant and Environmental Sciences. . [Completed]

[thumbnail of Final Thesis_Affendy Hassan 27112020.pdf] PDF - English
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A sustainable way to enhance overall food production is to increase the exploitation of subsoil resources
with deep roots. In this regard, intercropping is highly recommended to maintain agricultural systems,
because it can increase the soil exploitation, especially when using deep-rooted crops. Various root
measurement techniques help to understand the importance of roots and their role in intercropping. In this
work, there are two main objectives: (i) to study methods that enable the distinction of roots and root
function of plant species grown in mixed cropping; and (ii) to investigate the root interaction and resource
competition in intercropping systems.
The methods used for distinguishing roots and root function in intercropping systems were qPCR,
amplicon sequencing, 15N tracer uptake, and anatomical techniques. Experiments were conducted to study
the root competition between legume and non-legume mixtures under semi-field conditions, and various
stands of mixed crops in strip intercropping in the field. The root studies were conducted by direct visual
distinction in rhizotron tubes, by determining uptake of labeled nitrogen, and by root excavation followed
by different analyses.
It is concluded that several methods can be used to distinguish roots from different species in
intercropping systems. By the use of the DNA-based methods, qPCR and amplicon sequencing, it was
possible to quantify root fractions from root mixtures in intercropping. Root activity of individual species
of crops in the mixtures could also be detected by 15N tracer uptake. Additionally, microscopy with a
suitable staining method further allowed reliable differentiation among species by studying differences in
root anatomy. Finally, the use of red-colored roots also allowed for differentiation between two species
grown in intercropping systems, observed via direct visual observations and by using root imaging
techniques. The observations on belowground interactions in strip intercropping of different crop species
in this study could be useful as a guidance and to provide profound understanding about the mechanisms
that are responsible for the yield advantages of intercropping systems, crop design, and optimization of
agronomic choices in intercropping systems.

EPrint Type:Thesis
Thesis Type:PhD
Agrovoc keywords:
root methods
DNA based methods
Subjects: Farming Systems
Crop husbandry
Research affiliation: Denmark
Denmark > Private funders/foundations > Deep Frontier
Deposited By: Dresbøll, Dorte Bodin
ID Code:38827
Deposited On:20 Jan 2021 11:59
Last Modified:20 Jan 2021 11:59
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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