Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Length Of Root Hairs On Plants Made To Grow Longer: Potential Broad Implications For Agriculture

Date:
December 22, 2008
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
A new article in Nature Cell Biology has shown how to increase the length of root hairs on plants, potentially improving crop yields, as plants with longer root hairs take up minerals and water more efficiently.

Diagram of a root showing the arrangement of cells and root hairs, with the general directions of auxin flow shown in pink.
Credit: Claire Grierson

In the face of climate change, being able to increase crop yields by enabling plants to take up nutrients and water more efficiently becomes increasingly important, as fertiliser and water supplies incur significant energy and environmental costs.

Related Articles


New research from the University of Bristol, published December 14 in Nature Cell Biology, has shown how to increase the length of root hairs on plants, potentially improving crop yields, as plants with longer root hairs take up minerals and water more efficiently.

Angharad (Harry) Jones, a PhD student in Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol, and lead author on the paper, said: "Each root hair is a single, elongate cell and the length of each hair depends on having an adequate supply of the plant hormone auxin. Auxin is used, for example, in hormone rooting powders to encourage cuttings to root. The difficulty has been in understanding how auxin is delivered to the root hairs in order to promote their growth."

Since auxin cannot be observed directly, Jones used a computer model built by physicist Eric Kramer at Bard College, USA, to calculate where auxin was likely to be in plants. The model was based on current knowledge of auxin transport through and around the relevant cells.

What the model showed was very surprising: auxin is not delivered to root hair cells directly, but via the cells next door which act as canals through which the auxin is transported. During transport, some of the auxin leaks out, supplying hair cells with the auxin signal to grow. This new understanding will be crucial in helping farmers to produce food sustainably and to reduce fertiliser waste, which can cause severe damage to ecosystems.

Dr Claire Grierson, senior author on the paper added: "This important new work is an example of 'integrative biology', an innovative, interdisciplinary approach that uses experimental results alongside mathematical models and computer simulations to test ideas that are difficult or impossible to investigate with experiments alone. This approach has produced groundbreaking and surprising insights into a biological mechanism that might otherwise have eluded us."

The results also suggest that increasing the number of root hairs is likely to interfere with auxin supply and cause problems with other important traits like a plant's response to gravity and root branching. The new understanding of how to increase the length of roots hairs, rather than their numbers, will now avoid these kinds of problems.

It was Charles Darwin and his son Francis who, in 1880, first discovered that plants direct their growth towards the light. These observations would later lead to the discovery of auxin. END


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Length Of Root Hairs On Plants Made To Grow Longer: Potential Broad Implications For Agriculture." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081214191012.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2008, December 22). Length Of Root Hairs On Plants Made To Grow Longer: Potential Broad Implications For Agriculture. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081214191012.htm
University of Bristol. "Length Of Root Hairs On Plants Made To Grow Longer: Potential Broad Implications For Agriculture." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081214191012.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
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