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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Soil Physics - Prof. Dr. Andrea Carminati

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Soil drying and salinity stresses in crops under drip irrigation: effect of root and rhizosphere hydraulic properties on leaf water potential

BMBF 02WIL1489

From 09/2018 to 08/2021

Principal Investigator: Andrea Carminati, Nimrod Schwartz
Staff: Gaochao Cai, Mohanned Abdalla Ali

Rational: Root water uptake (RWU) accounts for ~80% of the total terrestrial evapotranspiration, affecting crop growth and yield, hydrological processes, carbon cycle and more. Despite the importance of this process, relatively little is known about the interactions between the soil and the plant and the impact of this interaction on RWU, especially under water drought and saline conditions.

Objectives: The objectives of the proposed research are to identify in what conditions RWU becomes limiting, how root and rhizosphere properties affect crop tolerance to drying and salinity stresses, which root and rhizosphere traits allow reducing abiotic stresses, and which irrigation management can result in optimal stress tolerances in tomatoes.

Methods: To reach these objectives, we design an innovative experiment that includes simultaneous measurements of water potential in the plant and the soil at both the laboratory (picture1, 2) and field scale. In addition, we also develop physically based models that allow the interpretation of the experimental results and testing scenarios.


Applications: A decision support system that will integrate the results of the study and will recommend optimal irrigation management will be developed. The experimental findings can be used as a platform to design breeding of root systems for optimal drought tolerances.


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