Applications and limitations of rhizotrons and minirhizotrons for root studies

  • H. M. Taylor
  • D. R. Upchurch
  • B. L. McMichael
Part of the Beltsville Symposia in Agricultural Research book series (BSAR, volume 14)

Abstract

This paper discusses two glass-wall techniques-rhizotrons and minirhizotrons. Rhizotrons are covered underground walkways with clear windows on one or both sides. Their design varies somewhat with the type of research to be conducted in them. A minirhizotron consists of a clear tube inserted into the soil then some type of viewing arrangement is lowered into the tube. In both techniques, roots and their rhizosphere organisms can be observed at the soil-wall boundary.

Key words

rhizosphere dynamics rhizotrons root studies 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bates G H 1937 A device for the observation of root growth in the soil. Nature 139, 966–967.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Box J E, Jr., Smucker A J M and Ritchie J T 1989 Minirhizotron installation techniques for investigating root responses to drought and oxygen stresses. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 53, 115–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dyer D and Brown D A 1980 In situ root observation using fiber optic /video and fluorescence. In Agron. Abstracts p. 80, Madison, WI.Google Scholar
  4. Fordham R 1972 Observations on the growth of roots and shoots of tea (Camellia sinensis L.) in Southern Malawi. J. Hortic. Sci. 47, 221–229.Google Scholar
  5. Freeman B M and Smart B E 1976 A root observation laboratory for studies with grapevines. Am. J. Enol. Viticulture. 27, 36–39.Google Scholar
  6. Glover J 1967 The simultaneous growth of sugarcane roots and tops in relation to soil and climate. Proc. South African Sugar Tech. Assn. 41, 143–159.Google Scholar
  7. Gregory P J 1979 A periscope method for observing root growth and distribution in the field. J. Expt. Bot. 30, 205–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hilton R J, Bhar D S and Mason G F 1969 A rhizotron for in situ root growth studies. Can. J. Plant Sci. 49, 101–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Huck M G and Taylor H M 1982 The rhizotron as a tool for root research. Adv. Agron. 35, 1–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Huxley P A and Turk A 1967 A new root observation laboratory for coffee. Kenya Coffee 156–159.Google Scholar
  11. Rogers W S 1969 The East Mailing root-observation laboratories. In Root Growth. Ed. W J Whittington. pp 361–376. Butterworth, London.Google Scholar
  12. Rush C M, Upchurch D R and Gerik T J 1984 In situ observation of Phymatotrichum omnivorum with a bore-scope minirhizotron system. Phytopathology 74, 104–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Sanders J L and Brown D A 1978 A new fiber optic technique for measuring root growth of soybeans under field conditions. Agron. J. 70, 1073–1076.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Soileau J M, Mays D A, Khasawneh F E and Kilmer V J 1974 The rhizotron-lysimeter research facility at TVA, Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Agron. J. 66, 828–832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Taylor H M 1969 The rhizotron at Auburn Alabama … a plant root observation laboratory. Auburn U. Agr. Expt. Sta. Circ. 197, 9 p.Google Scholar
  16. Taylor H M 1987 Minirhizotron Observation Tubes: Methods and Applications for Measuring Rhizosphere Dynamics. ASA Special Publication 50, American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI.Google Scholar
  17. Taylor H M and Willatt S T 1981 Utilization of rhizotrons in root research. In The Soil/Root System in Relation to Brazilian Agriculture. Eds. R S Russell, K Igue and Y R Mehta. pp 319–337. Instituto Agronomica do Parana, Londrina, Brazil: IAPAR.Google Scholar
  18. Upchurch D R 1985 Relationship between observations in minirhizotrons and true root length density. Ph.D. Diss. Texas Tech University Press. Lubbock.Google Scholar
  19. Upchurch D R, McMichael B L and Taylor H M 1988 Use of minirhizotrons to characterize root system orientation. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 53, 319–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Upchurch D R and Richie J T 1983 Root observations using a video recording system in minirhizotrons. Agron. J. 75, 1009–1015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Upchurch D R and Ritchie J T 1984 Battery-operated color video camera for root observations in minirhizotrons. Agron. J. 76, 1015–1017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Waddington J 1971 Observations of plant roots in situ. Can. J. Bot. 49, 1850–1852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. M. Taylor
    • 1
  • D. R. Upchurch
    • 2
  • B. L. McMichael
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and EntomologyTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  2. 2.Cropping System Research LaboratoryUSDA, ARSLubbockUSA

Personalised recommendations