Special Issue "Root Development, Physical and Nutritional Stress in Plants"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Physiology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2023) | Viewed by 8276

Special Issue Editors

Plant Soils Interaction, Ecological Sciences, The James Hutton Insititute, Dundee, Scotland, UK
Interests: roots; tillage; agricultural rotations; root system architecture; imaging and image analysis; plant productivity; soil physics
1. Agriculture Victoria, Grains Innovation Park, 110 Natimuk Rd, Horsham, VIC 3400, Australia
2. School of Applied Systems Biology, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia
Interests: plant phenomics; digital agriculture; crop physiology; breeding, genomics; precision agriculture; remote sensing
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Root development, in terms of root system architecture, i.e., size and shape, together with micro-traits (such as root hairs and a relative capacity to take up individual nutrients via uptake channels), is key within the complex system of the soil–plant continuum that influences plant nutritional status. This nutrient status can have ecosystem impacts through plant feeders, and ultimately, in the case of crop plants, the productivity of the human food chain, in terms of both quantity and quality.

Roots influenced by genotype are also highly influenced in their development by their environment. Natural soil environments can be very heterogenous, in terms of physical and nutrient status, in contrast to many contained environment systems used for screening root systems. In addition, changes in climate can influence the soil environment, e.g., no-till, and regenerative agriculture can produce a soil environment with different physical and biological properties to conventional inversion tilled soil. There is still uncertainty surrounding the impacts of root traits in these plant–soil systems in terms of nutrient flows, and how we can ensure that crops are future-proofed to maintain yields and ensure nutritious crops in line with the UN sustainability goals. 
This Special Issue aims to highlight adaptive root (and plant) traits that influence the optimal uptake and utilization nutrients from the soil in a wide range of environments.

Dr. Tracy Valentine
Dr. Surya Kant 
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • root system architecture
  • root hairs
  • nutrient uptake
  • nutrient partitioning
  • plant–soil interactions
  • microbial–plant interactions
  • exudates
  • genetic diversity

Published Papers (1 paper)

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20 pages, 2566 KiB  
Roots’ Drought Adaptive Traits in Crop Improvement
Plants 2022, 11(17), 2256; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11172256 - 30 Aug 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 7644
Drought is one of the biggest concerns in agriculture due to the projected reduction of global freshwater supply with a concurrent increase in global food demand. Roots can significantly contribute to improving drought adaptation and productivity. Plants increase water uptake by adjusting root [...] Read more.
Drought is one of the biggest concerns in agriculture due to the projected reduction of global freshwater supply with a concurrent increase in global food demand. Roots can significantly contribute to improving drought adaptation and productivity. Plants increase water uptake by adjusting root architecture and cooperating with symbiotic soil microbes. Thus, emphasis has been given to root architectural responses and root–microbe relationships in drought-resilient crop development. However, root responses to drought adaptation are continuous and complex processes and involve additional root traits and interactions among themselves. This review comprehensively compiles and discusses several of these root traits such as structural, physiological, molecular, hydraulic, anatomical, and plasticity, which are important to consider together, with architectural changes, when developing drought resilient crop varieties. In addition, it describes the significance of root contribution in improving soil structure and water holding capacity and its implication on long-term resilience to drought. In addition, various drought adaptive root ideotypes of monocot and dicot crops are compared and proposed for given agroclimatic conditions. Overall, this review provides a broader perspective of understanding root structural, physiological, and molecular regulators, and describes the considerations for simultaneously integrating multiple traits for drought tolerance and crop improvement, under specific growing environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root Development, Physical and Nutritional Stress in Plants)
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