Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Roots Find A Route Around Obstacles In The Soil

Date:
March 3, 2008
Source:
Norwich BioScience Institutes
Summary:
Scientists have discovered how roots find their way past obstacles to grow through soil. The discovery, described in Science, also explains how germinating seedlings penetrate the soil without pushing themselves out as they burrow.

A root growing vertically, with a root hair cell emerging horizontally.
Credit: John Innes Centre

Scientists at the John Innes Centre in Norwich have discovered how roots find their way past obstacles to grow through soil. The discovery, described in the forthcoming edition of Science, also explains how germinating seedlings penetrate the soil without pushing themselves out as they burrow.

Related Articles


"The key is in the fuzzy coat of hairs on the roots of plants" says Professor Liam Dolan. "We have identified a growth control mechanism that enables these hairs to find their way and to elongate when their path is clear."

Root hairs explore the soil in much the same way as a person would feel their way in the dark. If they come across an obstacle, they feel their way around until they can continue growing in an opening. In the meantime, the plant is held in place as the hairs grip the soil.

This ability is governed by a self-reinforcing cycle. A protein at the tip of root hairs called RHD2 produces free radicals that stimulate the uptake of calcium from the soil. Calcium then stimulates the activity of RHD2, producing more free radicals and further uptake of calcium. When an obstacle blocks the hair's path, the cycle is broken and growth starts in another location and direction.

"This remarkable system gives plants the flexibility to explore a complex environment and to colonise even the most unpromising soils," says Professor Dolan.

"It also explains how seedlings are able to grow so quickly once they have established."

In nutrient poor soils such as in parts of Australia and sub-Saharan Africa, plants have adapted by producing more root hairs. A better understanding of this adaptation will allow the development of crops able to grow in inhospitable environments.

This research was funded by the BBSRC, a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship and MEXT of Japan.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Norwich BioScience Institutes. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Norwich BioScience Institutes. "How Roots Find A Route Around Obstacles In The Soil." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080228143543.htm>.
Norwich BioScience Institutes. (2008, March 3). How Roots Find A Route Around Obstacles In The Soil. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080228143543.htm
Norwich BioScience Institutes. "How Roots Find A Route Around Obstacles In The Soil." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080228143543.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) A collection of dinosaur bones reveal a creature that is far more weird and goofy-looking than scientists originally thought when they found just the arm bones nearly 50 years ago, according to a new report in the journal Nature. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins