Spatio-temporal development of the rhizosheath during root elongation has the potential to modify the function of the rhizosphere under abiotic stress. We quantified the impact of carbon (i.e. glucose) addition on the development and function of rhizosheath of drought tolerant and sensitive chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) by integrating soil pore volume obtained from X-ray microtomography (µCT), soil physical and microbial respiration measures, and measurements of root traits. Structural equation modelling indicated the feedback mechanisms between added carbon, root traits, pore geometry, and soil functions differed between the cultivars in a fashion congruent with the concept of soil as a self-organising system that interacts with an introduced root system. The drought tolerant cultivar partitioned more photosynthetically fixed carbon to the roots, had more root hairs and more porous rhizosheath, as compared with the sensitive cultivar.
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