Evidence from near-isogenic lines that root penetration increases with root diameter and bending stiffness in rice

Lawrence John Clark, Adam Huw Price, Katherine A. Steele, William Richard Whalley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

98 Citations (Scopus)


Deep rooting can be inhibited by strong layers, although there is evidence for species and cultivar (cv.) differences in their penetration ability. Here, the availability of near-isogenic lines (NILs) in rice (Oryza sativa L.) was exploited to test the hypothesis that increased root diameter is associated with greater root bending stiffness, which leads to greater root penetration of strong layers. Wax/petrolatum discs (80% strong wax) were used as the strong layer, so that strength can be manipulated independently of water status. It was found that good root penetration was consistently associated with greater root diameter and bending stiffness, whether comparisons were made between cvs or between NILs. With NILs, this effect was seen with 'research' lines bred from recombinant inbred lines of a cross between cvs Bala and Azucena and also in improved lines developed from cv. Kalinga III by introgression of parts of the genome from Azucena. Much of the bending behaviour of roots could be explained by treating them as a simple cylinder of material. In both wax disc and sand culture systems, roots that had encountered a strong layer had lower bending stiffness than roots that had not encountered a strong layer which is a novel result and not previously reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-1171
Number of pages9
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Issue number11
Early online date28 Nov 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • physiological response
  • rice roots
  • soil strength
  • quantitative trait loci
  • oryza-sativa L.
  • mechanical impedance
  • plant-roots
  • pea roots
  • ability
  • growth
  • layers
  • QTLS


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