Information on the amount and spatial distribution of plant roots is increasingly needed for understanding and managing crop behaviour. Soil electrical resistivity (ρ) tomography has been proposed as a non-destructive method for root biomass quantification and mapping in trees but evidence is needed on the applicability of the technique at low root density and in herbaceous plants. We produced high-resolution 3D DC soil resistivity tomograms in containers with bare soil (B), and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) (A1) on a silt loam soil, and alfalfa on a loam (A2). Root biomass (RMD), root length density (RLD), soil electrical conductivity (EC) and water content (θ) were measured destructively. The pattern of soil resistivity matched the spatial distribution of θ in bare soil and of RMD in rooted soil. Univariate linear relations were found between ρ and θ in bare soil and between ρ, RLD and RMD in rooted soil. Across all data RMD and soil texture (P < 0.01) explained a high proportion of variability in soil resistivity. This allows to conclude that soil resistivity is quantitatively related to root biomass in herbaceous plants even at low root density (biomass < 0.001 Mg m−3), providing a basis for the development of resistivity-founded methods for the non-destructive spatial detection of root mass in situ, but the response in ρ is of the same order of magnitude as the effects of grain size and water content. Therefore in field studies reciprocal masking of low-density roots and other soil features is possible, and the effect of variation in other soil properties should be explicitly addressed.

Multi-electrode 3-D resistivity imaging of alfalfa root zone

AMATO, Mariana;BITELLA, GIOVANNI;ROSSI, ROBERTA;LOVELLI, Stella;
2009-01-01

Abstract

Information on the amount and spatial distribution of plant roots is increasingly needed for understanding and managing crop behaviour. Soil electrical resistivity (ρ) tomography has been proposed as a non-destructive method for root biomass quantification and mapping in trees but evidence is needed on the applicability of the technique at low root density and in herbaceous plants. We produced high-resolution 3D DC soil resistivity tomograms in containers with bare soil (B), and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) (A1) on a silt loam soil, and alfalfa on a loam (A2). Root biomass (RMD), root length density (RLD), soil electrical conductivity (EC) and water content (θ) were measured destructively. The pattern of soil resistivity matched the spatial distribution of θ in bare soil and of RMD in rooted soil. Univariate linear relations were found between ρ and θ in bare soil and between ρ, RLD and RMD in rooted soil. Across all data RMD and soil texture (P < 0.01) explained a high proportion of variability in soil resistivity. This allows to conclude that soil resistivity is quantitatively related to root biomass in herbaceous plants even at low root density (biomass < 0.001 Mg m−3), providing a basis for the development of resistivity-founded methods for the non-destructive spatial detection of root mass in situ, but the response in ρ is of the same order of magnitude as the effects of grain size and water content. Therefore in field studies reciprocal masking of low-density roots and other soil features is possible, and the effect of variation in other soil properties should be explicitly addressed.
2009
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11563/16719
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