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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

A Flotation Method for Determining Root Mass in Soil1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 69 No. 6, p. 1025-1026
    Received: Jan 7, 1977

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  1. S. Al-Khafaf,
  2. P. J. Wierenga and
  3. B. C. Williams2



Root weight is commonly determined as a criterion of root response to the environment. Determination of root weight by soaking soil and associated roots, and washing over sieves may result in losses of root material. In this study the distribution of cotton roots with depth and time was determined by soaking soil and roots in a solution containing 40 g/liter sodiumhexametaphosphate in a 1:5 soil solution ratio. The density of the resulting soil suspension was increased to 1.5 g/cm3 by adding dry, 78% pure CaCl2 in a ratio of 1 g CaCl2 to 2 g soil suspension. Roots floated to the surface and were skimmed from the surface with a fine wire strainer. By subsequent washing in tap water roots and organic debris ,were separated. Distributions of fine roots (mean diameter 0.25 ram) and total root mass for field grown cotton is shown at various times and depths.

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