Micro-scale interactions between Arabidopsis root hairs and soil particles control soil erosion

Soil is essential for sustaining life on earth. Plant roots play a crucial role in stabilising soil and minimising erosion, although these mechanisms are still not completely understood. Consequently, identifying and breeding plant traits to enhance erosion resistance is challenging. Root hair mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana were studied using three different quantitative methods to isolate their effect on root-soil cohesion. We present compelling evidence that microscale interactions of root hairs with surrounding soil increase its cohesion and reduce erosion. Arabidopsis seedlings with root hairs were more difficult to detach from soil, compost and sterile gel media than those with hairless roots, and it was 10-times harder to erode soil from roots with than without hairs. Moreover, we developed a model that can consistently predict the impact root hairs make to soil erosion resistance. Our study thus provides new insight into the mechanisms by which roots maintain soil stability.

Creator(s) Claire Grierson, Bethany Eldridge, Emily Larson
Contributor(s) Claire Grierson, Sarah De Baets
Publication date 04 Feb 2020
Language eng
Publisher University of Bristol
Licence Non-Commercial Government Licence for public sector information
DOI 10.5523/bris.1vca1omqff8bj2a7rpkbcgxc7y
Complete download (zip) https://data.bris.ac.uk/datasets/1vca1omqff8bj2a7rpkbcgxc7y/1vca1omqff8bj2a7rpkbcgxc7y.zip
Citation Claire Grierson, Bethany Eldridge, Emily Larson (2020): Micro-scale interactions between Arabidopsis root hairs and soil particles control soil erosion. https://doi.org/10.5523/bris.1vca1omqff8bj2a7rpkbcgxc7y
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