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Plant and Soil

, Volume 354, Issue 1–2, pp 141–155 | Cite as

Assessing variability in root traits of wild Lupinus angustifolius germplasm: basis for modelling root system structure

  • Ying Long ChenEmail author
  • Vanessa M. Dunbabin
  • Art J. Diggle
  • Kadambot H. M. Siddique
  • Zed RengelEmail author
Regular Article

Abstract

Background and aims

Intra-specific variation in root system architecture and consequent efficiency of resource capture by major crops has received recent attention. The aim of this study was to assess variability in a number of root traits among wild genotypes of narrow-leafed lupin (Lupinus angustifolius L.), to provide a basis for modelling of root structure.

Methods

A subset of 111 genotypes of L. angustifolius was selected from a large germplasm pool based on similarity matrices calculated using Diversity Array Technology markers. Plants were grown for 6 weeks in the established semi-hydroponic phenotyping systems to measure the fine-scale features of the root systems.

Results

Root morphology of wild L. angustifolius was primarily dominated by the taproot and first-order branches, with the presence of densely or sparsely distributed second-order branches in the late growth stage. Large variation in most root traits was identified among the tested genotypes. Total root length, branch length and branch number in the entire root system and in the upper roots were the most varied traits (coefficient of variation CV >0.50). Over 94% of the root system architectural variation determined from the principal components analysis was captured by six components (eigenvalue >1). Five relatively homogeneous groups of genotypes with distinguished patterns of root architecture were separated by k-means clustering analysis.

Conclusions

Variability in the fine-scale features of root systems such as branching behaviour and taproot growth rates provides a basis for modelling root system structure, which is a promising path for selecting desirable root traits in breeding and domestication of wild and exotic resources of L. angustifolius for stressful or poor soil environments.

Keywords

Lupinus angustifolius Phenotyping Root system architecture Root modelling Root traits Variation Wild genotype 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The Australian Research Council (ARC) provided funding for this research. We acknowledge J. Clements from The University of Western Australia, and the Department of Agriculture and Food of Western Australia, for providing lupin seed and advice for this work. We are grateful to J.P. Lynch of Pennsylvania State University for critical comments on a draft, and M. Renton for an initial discussion on the use of R program.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ying Long Chen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Vanessa M. Dunbabin
    • 3
  • Art J. Diggle
    • 4
  • Kadambot H. M. Siddique
    • 2
  • Zed Rengel
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, School of Earth and Environment (M087)The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.The UWA Institute of AgricultureThe University of Western Australia (M082)CrawleyAustralia
  3. 3.Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural ResearchThe University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  4. 4.The Department of Agriculture and FoodWestern AustraliaBentleyAustralia

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