Co-optimization of Root Architecture for Water and Phosphorus Acquisition

Project: Research project

Project Details


Plant productivity is limited by water and phosphorus availability in natural and agricultural ecosystems throughout the world. Root system architecture plays an important role in the acquisition of scarce soil resources. Using common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) as a model system, we have identified specific root architectural traits that are regulated by genetic and environmental factors, particularly phosphorus availability. We have also demonstrated that these root traits are related to plant adaptation to different environments. In addition, we have developed Recombinant Inbred Lines of beans that segregate for these traits, which we will employ in our studies.

Experiments outlined in this proposal aim to gain a better understanding of the relationship between root architecture and resource acquisition, particularly when multiple soil resources are limiting. Our overall objectives are to examine the tradeoffs of a shallow vs. deep root architecture for water and phosphorus acquisition, as well as to determine the adaptive importance of root architectural plasticity and the potential implications for interplant competition. The results from this work will have important ecological and agricultural significance, as well as aid in the development of resource acquisition efficient crops.

Effective start/end date1/15/0212/31/05


  • National Science Foundation: $221,875.00


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