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Genotypic variability of oil palm root system distribution in the field. Consequences for water uptake

Nodichao L., Chopart J.L., Roupsard O., Vauclin M., Ake S., Jourdan C.. 2011. Plant and Soil, 341 (1-2) : p. 505-520.

Previous studies relating root systems and drought tolerance in oil palm focused mainly on biomass. Yet, total root length (TRL), total root surface area (TRS), and root distribution in the soil better determine water uptake. These morphological traits were studied on 3 oil palm genotypes displaying a contrasting drought tolerance. A new concept of potential root water extraction ratio (PRER) was developed using measured half-distances between roots and some assumptions about the distance of water migration from soil to root. PRER was determined in conjunction with soil moisture extraction efficiency (SMEE). The presumed tolerant genotype (T) had higher TRL, TRS and PRER than the susceptible genotype (S), whilst the performance of the control genotype (I) was intermediate. Surprisingly, during a period of moderate water deficit, T had a lower SMEE than S, which was interpreted successfully with PRER, as the result of a better access to a large volume of soil and of a slower drying out of the soil around the roots. PRER appears as a helpful indicator for comparing or ranking genotypes, and for addressing better the complexity of the genetic variability of drought tolerance. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : elaeis guineensis; bénin

Thématique : Génétique et amélioration des plantes; Physiologie végétale : croissance et développement; Troubles divers des plantes

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