Root System Response to Drought and Salinity: Root Distribution and Water Transport

  • M. Jesús Sánchez-Blanco
  • Sara Álvarez
  • M. Fernanda Ortuño
  • M. Carmen Ruiz-Sánchez
Part of the Soil Biology book series (SOILBIOL, volume 40)


Plant responses to water stress and salinity have been widely discussed in many species. The growth of stressed plants is often limited by the ability of roots to extract water from the soil and transport it to the shoot, which determines the concentration of substances reaching the aerial part. In spite of this, little work has been done in connection with roots as regards salt or water stress. Although roots might seem the most vulnerable part of the plant, since they are directly exposed to salt or to drying soil, the intensity of the root system response may vary according to the species, the level and duration of the stress and cultivation conditions. For example, roots growing in pots are more affected by environmental conditions in the substrate-root complex than they would be with ground cultivation. This work reviews the recent literature on root system responses in ornamental species grown in containers and woody trees growing in soil exposed to deficit irrigation strategies and alternative irrigation sources (brackish, reclaimed). The aim is to extend our understanding of how these conditions may affect the characteristics and activity of roots, especially the water absorption capacity.


Salt Stress Water Stress Root Growth Fine Root Root Length Density 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (AGL2009-06981, AGL2010-14861, AGL2011-30022-C02-01,-02), Séneca Foundation-Murcia (08847/PI/08 and 15356/PI/10) and Consolider-Ingenio 2010 (CSD2006-0067) grants to the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Jesús Sánchez-Blanco
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sara Álvarez
    • 1
  • M. Fernanda Ortuño
    • 1
  • M. Carmen Ruiz-Sánchez
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de RiegoCentro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS-CSIC)MurciaSpain
  2. 2.Unidad Asociada al CSIC de Horticultura Sostenible en Zonas Áridas (UPCT-CEBAS)Cartagena, MurciaSpain

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