Root acclimations to soil flooding prime rice (Oryza sativa L.) for subsequent conditions of water deficit

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Background and aims
The root barrier to radial O2 loss is a trait induced during soil flooding restricting oxygen loss from the roots to the anoxic soil. It can also restrict radial water loss, potentially providing tolerance towards drought during conditions of water deficit. Several root traits (aerenchyma and xylem vessels area) respond in a similar way to soil flooding and low soil water potentials. Therefore, we hypothesised that root acclimations to soil flooding prime plants to withstand conditions of water deficit.

We raised plants in hydroponics mimicking contrasting soil water conditions (aerated controls for well-watered soils; stagnant, deoxygenated solutions for flooded soils, and aerated solutions with different PEG6000 concentrations to mimic conditions of water deficit). We used O2 microsensors and gravimetric measurements to characterize the formation of a barrier to radial O2 loss during conditions of water deficit, and measured key anatomical root traits using light microscopy.

Several root traits were induced in stagnant conditions as well as in conditions of water deficit, including the barrier to radial O2 loss. The tightness of the barrier to water loss was similar in both stagnant and PEG6000 treatments. Moreover, plants growing in stagnant conditions tolerated a following severe condition of water deficit, whereas those growing in mimicked well-watered conditions did not.

We demonstrated that plants growing in stagnant conditions can withstand following severe conditions of water deficit. We propose that key root traits, such as the barrier to radial O2 loss, which are induced in stagnant conditions as well as mild conditions of water deficit, prime the plants for a following severe condition of water deficit.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant and Soil
Pages (from-to)529-546
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the International Rice Research Institute gene bank for providing the seeds of IR42.

Funding Information:
Open access funding provided by Royal Library, Copenhagen University Library The financial support by EU Horizon 2020 Talent program (LLPO), the Danish International Development Agency, DANIDA (grant No. 19–03-KU to OP), the Independent Research Fund Denmark (grant no. 8021-00120B; to LLPO and OP), the China Scholarship Council ZS (202006300009; to ZS) are greatly acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Aerenchyma, Cortex to stele ratio, Drought, Permeance to water, Radial water loss, ROL barrier, Root traits, Soil flooding, Waterlogging

ID: 369359477