Mechanical impedance of root growth directly reduces leaf elongation rates of cereals

I. M. Young, K. Montagu, J. Conroy, A. G. Bengough

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77 Scopus citations


A dry soil is generally a hard soil. Thus, the effects of water stress and mechanical impedance on plant growth are difficult to separate. To achieve this we have developed a growth cell that allows manipulation of the strength of growth media (i.e. mechanical impedance) without altering the availability of water or nutrients. We monitored leaf elongation rates of barley and wheat seedlings before and after the mechanical impedance to root growth was increased. Results show that a large and rapid reduction (within 10 min) of leaf elongation rates occurred after impedance to the roots was increased. The average reductions for barley and wheat, with associated standard errors, were 22.6% (4.84) and 36.2% (5.48), respectively. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that mechanical impedance of roots might have a direct negative effect on leaf growth even where nutrients and water are in plentiful supply to the plant. The implications of the rate of the response are examined with respect to the underlying mechanisms controlling root-shoot signalling.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-619
Number of pages7
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-02-15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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