Mucilage is a polymeric gel containing polysaccharides and lipids. It is exuded by the root tips and holds large amounts of water. This keeps the rhizosphere moist, especially under dry conditions. With higher variability of rainfall and more extreme weather events (e.g. drought) caused by the human made climate change, this could be an important trait for our crops to maintain a constant yield even under unfavorable conditions.
The idea of my project is to show the effect of variety and water availability on the production of mucilage and its rheological parameters. Therefore I use two different maize varieties (B73 and Mo17) and two different water contents. The mucilage is being measured and compared for its amount, viscosity and surface tension value. In addition, we will observe the behavior of the mucilage in soil using a neutron radioscope. This allows us to measure it without intercepting the soil.