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Contribution of mechanical factors to the variability of root architecture: quantifying the past history of interaction forces between growing roots and soil grains

Fakih M., Delenne J.Y., Radjai F., Fourcaud T.. 2016. In : 2016 IEEE International Conference on Functional-Structural Plant Growth Modeling, Simulation, Visualization and Applications (FSPMA). Qingdao : IEEE, p. 52-60. IEEE International Conference on Functional-Structural Plant Growth Modeling, Simulation, Visualization and Applications (FSPMA 2016), 2016-11-07/2016-11-11, Qingdao (Chine).

DOI: 10.1109/FSPMA.2016.7818288

The relation between a growing root and the soil movement has often been under-estimated. The present work aims to determine how grains in granular soils are reorganized by the action of growing roots, and in turn how the resulting forces acting on root tips modify their development. For this purpose, we have developed a 2D Discrete Element Model (DEM) able to compute a numerical growth of a single root inside a granular medium, taking into account the grain-grain and the root-grain contact forces during the growth. First in silico simulations were carried out in order to : 1-quantify the influence of the granular structure (grain diameter distribution and gaps) and root mechanical properties (root bending stiffness) on the evolution of reaction forces applied to a single root during its growth; 2-highlight ¿group effects¿, e.g. how the reorganization of grains and their interaction forces due to a given growing root can affect the mechanical signal perceived by its near neighbours; 3-investigate how the presence of initial channels within the granular medium can effect the growth trajectory and minimize the resistance to penetration. All simulations were carried out assuming that root growth direction was only driven by external forces. Simlation results allowed the extraction of general physical laws that will be used further to provide mechanoperceptive indicators and analyze experimental data provided by phenotyping platforms. The final objective will be to quantify the response of plants to mechanical stresses in terms of root elongation rate, root straightness and ramification. (Résumé d'auteur)

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