Rice roots use a spiraling strategy to become established


Rice roots use a spiraling strategy to become established Today’s Video of the Day from Duke University describes a strategy used by rice plants that grow their roots in a spiraling pattern for a greater chance of becoming established.

The researchers set up a camera on rice seeds sprouting in clear gel to examine how the roots burrow into the soil. A new picture was captured every 15 minutes for several days after germination.

The team discovered that rice roots use a trick to gain a foothold in the soil by making corkscrew-like motions with the tips of their roots. 

Sprouting seeds face the challenge of anchoring the plant and moving downwards to suck up the water and nutrients the plant needs to grow. The genes governing root meristem activity also constitute promising targets for adapting root growth to different soil stress conditions.

According to the researchers, the spiral growth of root tips is a strategy that rice plants use to grow in hard, compacted soil. Rice is distinct from other crops as it is cultivated in flooded paddy soils over most growth stages. In flooded paddy soils, O 2 is secreted through the aerenchyma of rice roots leading to oxic zones around the roots. 

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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