Evaluation of sorghum root branching using fractals

Masi, C.E.A. and Maranville, J.W. (1998) Evaluation of sorghum root branching using fractals. Journal of Agricultural Science , 131 (3). pp. 259-265.

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Root branching and architecture play a significant role in water and nutrient uptake, but description of these parameters has not been easy due to the difficulty of observing roots in their natural arrangement. Fractal geometry offers a novel method for studying the branching patterns of roots. Plants of ten diverse sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) genotypes (five of African origin, three of US origin and two hybrids composed of African × US lines) were grown in root boxes containing 80% sand and 20% fine-textured Sharpsburg silty clay loam topsoil. The root fractal dimension (D) and abundance (log K) were determined at nine regions within the profile. Roots were washed free of growth media and photographic slides were taken of each region. Values of D and log K were determined by projecting photographs onto grids of progressively increasing sizes. The number of intersects was regressed on log grid size. Differences in D were found among genotypes (1.44 ≤ D ≤ 1.89), suggesting that these sorghum genotypes may be associated with greater root branching patterns. Greater fractal dimension (branching) and abundance values occurred in the 0-35 and 35-70 cm depths of the soil profile within the root box, indicating a greater root distribution in that part of the profile. Significant differences were also noted in branching patterns for sorghum genotypes derived from different sources. In general, the African sorghums were more highly branched and deeper rooted than the US-derived genotypes. Results indicated that fractal dimension can be used to describe sorghum root system morphology and to distinguish between genotypes on the basis of branching patterns.

Item Type: Article
Author Affiliation: Department of Agronomy, PO Box 830817, University of Nebraska Lincoln, NE 68583, USA.
Subjects: Crop Improvement > Plant Breeding
Divisions: Sorghum
Depositing User: Mr B Krishnamurthy
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2010 14:34
Last Modified: 29 Dec 2010 20:43
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0021859698005826
URI: http://eprints.icrisat.ac.in/id/eprint/509

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