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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Surface Area Measurement of Corn Root Systems1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 6, p. 1091-1093
    Received: Nov 19, 1981

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  1. D. E. Smika and
  2. A. Klute2



The density or amount of roots per unit of soil is important when evaluating the use of soil water and nutrients by plants. The most commonly used measurement of roots is mass, but more recently root length measurements have been reported. We believe root surface area is of critical importance in assessing water and nutrient uptake. We are presenting a method whereby this characteristic can be determined using roots washed from soil cores which are photographed followed by the developed film being scanned with an Image Analyzer to determine the area. This value is multiplied by π assuming the roots are cylindrical to give the total surface area of the roots. The accuracy of the technique was checked by calculating the root length using an average root diameter of 0.05 cm. The calculated lengths were comparable to published values giving credibility to the technique.

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