Tracing root-felt sodium concentrations under different transpiration rates and salinity levels

  • Adi Perelman
  • Helena Jorda
  • Jan Vanderborght
  • Naftali LazarovitchEmail author
Regular Article



(1) Monitoring ‘root-felt’ salinity by using rhizoslides as a non-invasive method, (2) Studying how transpiration rate, salinity in irrigation water, and root water uptake affect sodium distribution around single roots, (3) Interpreting experimental results by using simulations with a 3-D root system architecture model coupled with water flow and solute transport models.


Tomato plants were grown on rhizoslides under various salinity levels and two transpiration rates: high and low. Daily root images were processed with GIMP and incorporated into a 3-D numerical model. The experiments were simulated with R-SWMS, a 3-dimensional numerical model that simulates water flow and solute transport in soil, into the root and inside root systems.


Both experimental and simulation results displayed higher root-felt sodium concentrations compared with the bulk concentrations, and larger accumulation at higher transpiration rate. The simulations illustrated that the root-felt to bulk concentration ratio changed during the experiment depending both on the irrigation water salinity and transpiration rate.


Changes in sodium concentrations with transpiration rates are most likely caused by root water uptake and ion exclusion. Simulation results indicate that root-scale process models are required to link root system architecture, environmental, and soil conditions with root-felt salinities.


Root water uptake Process model Roots Saline irrigation 



high transpiration rate


low transpiration rate


distance from the root interface


double distilled water


electrical conductivity



This research was supported by a Grant from the GIF, the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development and by the Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Eugene Kandel Knowledge Centers) as part of the “Root of the Matter: The root zone knowledge center for leveraging modern agriculture.”

Supplementary material

11104_2019_3959_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (22 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert ResearchBen-Gurion University of the NegevMidreshet Ben-GurionIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Bioscience EngineeringKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Institute of Bio- and GeoscienceAgrosphere InstituteJülichGermany

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