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Assessing the influence of the rhizosphere on soil hydraulic properties using X-ray Computed Tomography and numerical modelling

Assessing the influence of the rhizosphere on soil hydraulic properties using X-ray Computed Tomography and numerical modelling
Assessing the influence of the rhizosphere on soil hydraulic properties using X-ray Computed Tomography and numerical modelling
Understanding the dynamics of water distribution in soil is crucial for enhancing our knowledge of managing soil and water resources. The application of X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) to the plant and soil sciences is now well established. However, few studies have utilised the technique for visualising water in soil pore spaces. Here we utilise this method to visualise the water in soil in situ and in three-dimensions at successive reductive matric potentials in bulk and rhizosphere soil. The measurements are combined with numerical modelling to determine the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity, providing a complete picture of the hydraulic properties of the soil. The technique was performed on soil cores that were sampled adjacent to established roots (rhizosphere soil) and from soil that had not been influenced by roots (bulk soil). A water release curve was obtained for the different soil types using measurements of their pore geometries derived from CT imaging and verified using conventional methods e.g. pressure plates. The water, soil and air phases from the images were segmented and quantified using image analysis. The water release characteristics obtained for the contrasting soils showed clear differences in hydraulic properties between rhizosphere and bulk soil, especially in clay soil. The data suggests that soils influenced by roots (rhizosphere soil) are less porous due to increased aggregation when compared to bulk soil. The information and insights obtained on the hydraulic properties of rhizosphere and bulk soil will enhance our understanding of rhizosphere biophysics and improve current water uptake models.
0022-0957
1-34
Daly, Keith R.
64f85c2e-2562-44df-9cb8-1be7fbc7e74c
Mooney, S.
f94e07b0-f5c5-4fa6-ba08-0fb40a78565a
Bennett, M.
e42f5213-4410-4284-9e96-74e359df6b19
Crout, N.
7be59770-fd2a-43f7-9349-6bf12fdb6467
Roose, Tiina
3581ab5b-71e1-4897-8d88-59f13f3bccfe
Tracey, S.
64f573c4-a73a-44d8-9313-de44557c544a
Daly, Keith R.
64f85c2e-2562-44df-9cb8-1be7fbc7e74c
Mooney, S.
f94e07b0-f5c5-4fa6-ba08-0fb40a78565a
Bennett, M.
e42f5213-4410-4284-9e96-74e359df6b19
Crout, N.
7be59770-fd2a-43f7-9349-6bf12fdb6467
Roose, Tiina
3581ab5b-71e1-4897-8d88-59f13f3bccfe
Tracey, S.
64f573c4-a73a-44d8-9313-de44557c544a

(2014) Assessing the influence of the rhizosphere on soil hydraulic properties using X-ray Computed Tomography and numerical modelling. Journal of Experimental Botany, 1-34. (In Press)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Understanding the dynamics of water distribution in soil is crucial for enhancing our knowledge of managing soil and water resources. The application of X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) to the plant and soil sciences is now well established. However, few studies have utilised the technique for visualising water in soil pore spaces. Here we utilise this method to visualise the water in soil in situ and in three-dimensions at successive reductive matric potentials in bulk and rhizosphere soil. The measurements are combined with numerical modelling to determine the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity, providing a complete picture of the hydraulic properties of the soil. The technique was performed on soil cores that were sampled adjacent to established roots (rhizosphere soil) and from soil that had not been influenced by roots (bulk soil). A water release curve was obtained for the different soil types using measurements of their pore geometries derived from CT imaging and verified using conventional methods e.g. pressure plates. The water, soil and air phases from the images were segmented and quantified using image analysis. The water release characteristics obtained for the contrasting soils showed clear differences in hydraulic properties between rhizosphere and bulk soil, especially in clay soil. The data suggests that soils influenced by roots (rhizosphere soil) are less porous due to increased aggregation when compared to bulk soil. The information and insights obtained on the hydraulic properties of rhizosphere and bulk soil will enhance our understanding of rhizosphere biophysics and improve current water uptake models.

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Accepted/In Press date: 25 November 2014
Organisations: Bioengineering Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 372124
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/372124
ISSN: 0022-0957
PURE UUID: cb76e24b-bf88-4da6-9494-8d2b3e4bc904
ORCID for Tiina Roose: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8710-1063

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Date deposited: 01 Dec 2014 17:01
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:36

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