Plant and Soil

, Volume 330, Issue 1–2, pp 503–514 | Cite as

Evaluation of diverse soybean germplasm for root growth and architecture

  • Lakshmi P. Manavalan
  • Satish K. Guttikonda
  • Vinh T. Nguyen
  • J. Grover Shannon
  • Henry T. Nguyen
Regular Article


Root characteristics of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) improve drought avoidance by increasing water uptake from the soil profile. Screening genotypes for improved root architecture without breaking the taproots or losing lateral roots is a challenge. Due to difficulty in separating roots from field or potting soil, a rapid and effective screening method with a suitable growth medium to assess root characteristics under controlled conditions needs to be established. We describe two screening techniques “the cone system” and “the tube system” using turface:sand medium. In the cone system thirty four soybean lines including cultivars and exotic plant introduction (PI) lines were evaluated for tap root length and root biomass, 12 days after sowing. Eight replications per line were grown in a growth chamber. Significant differences among genotypes for tap root length were detected by the cone system. Validity of results from the cone system was tested by evaluating root growth 21 days after planting for eight lines in the tube system. A coefficient of determination of 0.72 indicated good agreement between the two screening systems for evaluating genotypes for rooting depth. The cone system will be a useful method to easily and rapidly assess soybean genotypes for root growth.


Soybean Root growth Tap root length Plant introduction line 



We thank Theresa Musket for assistance in this study. We also thank Prof. JE. Specht, University of Nebraska and Prof. Saghai-Maroof, Virginia Tech for providing the seed of mapping parental lines.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lakshmi P. Manavalan
    • 1
  • Satish K. Guttikonda
    • 1
  • Vinh T. Nguyen
    • 1
  • J. Grover Shannon
    • 2
  • Henry T. Nguyen
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Plant SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Plant Sciences and National Center for Soybean BiotechnologyUniversity of MissouriPortagevilleUSA
  3. 3.National Center for Soybean BiotechnologyUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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