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Genotypic diversity and plasticity of root system architecture to nitrogen availability in oilseed rape

Abstract : In the emerging new agricultural context, a drastic reduction in fertilizer usage is required. A promising way to maintain high crop yields while reducing fertilizer inputs is to breed new varieties with optimized root system architecture (RSA), designed to reach soil resources more efficiently. This relies on identifying key traits that underlie genotypic variability and plasticity of RSA in response to nutrient availability. The aim of our study was to characterize the RSA plasticity in response to nitrogen limitation of a set of contrasted oilseed rape genotypes, by using the ArchiSimple model parameters as screening traits. Eight accessions of Brassica napus were grown in long tubes in the greenhouse, under two contrasting levels of nitrogen availability. After plant excavation, roots were scanned at high resolution. Six RSA traits relative to root diameter, elongation rate and branching were measured, as well as nine growth and biomass allocation traits. The plasticity of each trait to nitrogen availability was estimated. Nitrogen-limited plants were characterized by a strong reduction in total biomass and leaf area. Even if the architecture traits were shown to be less plastic than allocation traits, significant nitrogen and genotype effects were highlighted on each RSA trait, except the root minimal diameter. Thus, the RSA of nitrogen-limited plants was primarily characterised by a reduced lateral root density, a smaller primary root diameter, associated with a stronger root dominance. Among the RSA traits measured, the inter-branch distance showed the highest plasticity with a level of 70%, in the same range as the most plastic allocation traits. This work suggests that lateral root density plays the key role in the adaptation of the root system to nitrogen availability and highlights inter-branch distance as a major target trait for breeding new varieties, better adapted to low input systems.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03258430
Contributor : Céline Richard-Molard <>
Submitted on : Friday, June 11, 2021 - 3:10:16 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 20, 2021 - 10:38:02 AM

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Christophe Lecarpentier, Loïc Pagès, Céline Richard-Molard. Genotypic diversity and plasticity of root system architecture to nitrogen availability in oilseed rape. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2021, 16, ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0250966⟩. ⟨hal-03258430⟩

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