Plant and Soil

, Volume 377, Issue 1–2, pp 277–293 | Cite as

Linking transpiration reduction to rhizosphere salinity using a 3D coupled soil-plant model

  • Natalie SchröderEmail author
  • Naftali Lazarovitch
  • Jan Vanderborght
  • Harry Vereecken
  • Mathieu Javaux
Regular Article



Soil salinity can cause salt plant stress by reducing plant transpiration and yield due to very low osmotic potentials in the soil. For predicting this reduction, we present a simulation study to (i) identify a suitable functional form of the transpiration reduction function and (ii) to explain the different shapes of empirically observed reduction functions.


We used high resolution simulations with a model that couples 3D water flow and salt transport in the soil towards individual roots with flow in the root system.


The simulations demonstrated that the local total water potential at the soil-root interface, i.e. the sum of the matric and osmotic potentials, is for a given root system, uniquely and piecewise linearly related to the transpiration rate. Using bulk total water potentials, i.e. spatially and temporally averaged potentials in the soil around roots, sigmoid relations were obtained. Unlike for the local potentials, the sigmoid relations were non-unique functions of the total bulk potential but depended on the contribution of the bulk osmotic potential.


To a large extent, Transpiration reduction is controlled by water potentials at the soil-root interface. Since spatial gradients in water potentials around roots are different for osmotic and matric potentials, depending on the root density and on soil hydraulic properties, transpiration reduction functions in terms of bulk water potentials cannot be transferred to other conditions, i.e. soil type, salt content, root density, beyond the conditions for which they were derived. Such a transfer could be achieved by downscaling to the soil-root interface using simulations with a high resolution process model.


Soil-root modelling Salinity Root water uptake Stress function 



This work was partly funded by the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and the Israel Science Foundation (Grant 152/11).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie Schröder
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Naftali Lazarovitch
    • 4
  • Jan Vanderborght
    • 5
  • Harry Vereecken
    • 5
  • Mathieu Javaux
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbHInstitute of Bio- and Geoscience Agrosphere Institute, IBG-3JülichGermany
  2. 2.Department of Hydromechanics and Modelling of Hydrosystems, Institute for Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental SystemsUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  3. 3.Earth and Life Institute/Environmental SciencesUniversite catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  4. 4.Wyler Department for Dryland Agriculture, French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert ResearchBen-Gurion University of the NegevMidreshet Ben-GurionIsrael
  5. 5.Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Institute of Bio- and GeoscienceAgrosphere Institute (IBG-3)/Centre for High-Performance Scientific Computing in Terrestrial Systems TerrSysJülichGermany

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