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A time-lapse imaging platform for quantification of soil crack development due to simulated root water uptake

Colombi, Tino and Kirchgessner, Norbert and Keller, Thomas and Iseskog, Daniel and Alexandersson, Susanne and Larsbo, Mats and Keller, Thomas (2021). A time-lapse imaging platform for quantification of soil crack development due to simulated root water uptake. Soil and Tillage Research. 205 , 104769
[Journal article]

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Abstract

Plants are major drivers of soil structure dynamics. Root growth creates new macropores and provides essential carbon to soil, while root water uptake may induce crack formation around roots. Cracks can facilitate root growth as they provide pathways of least resistance and improve water infiltration and soil aeration. Due to the lack of suitable quantification methods, knowledge on the effects of root water uptake on soil crack formation remains limited. In the current study, we developed a time-lapse imaging platform that allows i) simulating root water uptake through localized soil drying and ii) quantifying the development of two-dimensional crack networks. Customized soil boxes that were 50 mm wide, 55 mm high and 5 mm deep were designed. Artificial roots made of dialysis tubes were inserted into the soil boxes and polyethylene glycol solution was circulated through the tubes. This induced a gradient in osmotic potential at the contact area (150 mm(2)) between the soil and the dialysis tubes, resulting in controlled soil drying. Drying intensity was varied by using different polyethylene glycol concentrations. Experiments were conducted with three soils that were subjected to three drying intensities for 6.5 days. We developed a time-lapse imaging system to record soil crack formation at two-minute intervals in twelve samples simultaneously. Resulting crack networks were quantified with an automated image analysis pipeline. Across soils and drying intensities, crack network development slowed down after 24-48 h of soil drying. The extent and complexity of crack networks increased with drying intensity and crack networks were larger and more complex in the clay and clay loam soil than in the silt loam soil. Smaller and less complex crack networks were better connected than larger and more complex networks. These results demonstrate that the platform developed in this study is suitable to quantify crack network development in soil due to simulated root water uptake at high temporal resolution and high throughput. Thereby, it can provide information needed to improve our understanding on how plants modify soil structure.

Authors/Creators:Colombi, Tino and Kirchgessner, Norbert and Keller, Thomas and Iseskog, Daniel and Alexandersson, Susanne and Larsbo, Mats and Keller, Thomas
Title:A time-lapse imaging platform for quantification of soil crack development due to simulated root water uptake
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:205
Article number:104769
Number of Pages:11
Publisher:ELSEVIER
ISSN:0167-1987
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Soil Science
Keywords:Root water uptake, Soil structure dynamics, Soil drying, Time-lapse imaging, Image analysis, Osmotic potential
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-109050
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-109050
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.still.2020.104769
Web of Science (WoS)000582696400023
ID Code:19110
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
(S) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:04 Dec 2020 13:03
Metadata Last Modified:04 Dec 2020 13:11

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