Simultaneous monitoring of electrical capacitance and water uptake activity of plant root system

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Pot experiments were designed to test the applicability of root electrical capacitance measurement for in situ monitoring of root water uptake activity by growing cucumber and bean cultivars in a growth chamber. Half of the plants were inoculated with Funneliformis mosseae arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, while the other half served as non-infected controls. Root electrical capacitance and daily transpiration were monitored during the whole plant ontogeny. Phenology-dependent changes of daily transpiration (related to root water uptake) and root electrical capacitance proved to be similar as they showed upward trends from seedling emergence to the beginning of flowering stage, and thereafter decreased continuously during fruit setting. A few days after arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi-colonization, daily transpiration and root electrical capacitance of infected plants became significantly higher than those of non-infected counterparts, and the relative increment of the measured parameters was greater for the more highly mycorrhizal-dependent bean cultivar compared to that of cucumber. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi colonization caused 29 and 69% relative increment in shoot dry mass for cucumbers and beans, respectively. Mycorrhization resulted in 37% increase in root dry mass for beans, but no significant difference was observed for cucumbers. Results indicate the potential of root electrical capacitance measurements for monitoring the changes and differences of root water uptake rate.

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International Agrophysics

The Journal of Institute of Agrophysics of Polish Academy of Sciences

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