Linking rhizosphere processes across scales: Opinion

Schnepf A, Carminati A, Ahmed M, Ami M, Benard P, Bentz J, Bonkowski M, Brax M, Diehl D, Duddek P, Kröner E, Javaux M, Landl M, Lehndorff E, Lippold E, Lieu A, Müller CW, Oburger E, Otten W, Portell-Canal X, Phalempin M, Prechtel A, Schulz R, Vanderborght J, Vetterlein D (2022)

Publication Language: English

Publication Status: In review

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Future Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2022


Series: BioRxiv


DOI: 10.1007/s11104-022-05306-7

Open Access Link:


Purpose Simultaneously interacting small-scale rhizosphere processes determine emergent plant-scale behaviour, including growth, transpiration, nutrient uptake, soil carbon storage and transformation by microorganisms. Current advances in modelling and experimental methods open the path to unravel and link those processes. Methods We present a series of examples of state-of-the art simulations addressing this multi-scale, multi-process problem from a modelling point of view, as well as from the point of view of integrating newly available rhizosphere data and images. Results Each example includes a model that links scales and experimental data to set-up simulations that explain and predict spatial and temporal distribution of rhizodeposition as driven by root architecture development, soil structure, presence of root hairs, soil water content and distribution of soil water. Furthermore, two models explicitly simulate the impact of the rhizodeposits on plant nutrient uptake and soil microbial activity, respectively. This exemplifies the currently available state of the art modelling tools in this field: image-based modelling, pore-scale modelling, continuum scale modelling and functional-structural plant modelling. We further show how to link the pore scale to the continuum scale by homogenisation or by deriving effective physical parameters like viscosity from nano-scale chemical properties. Conclusion Modelling allows to integrate and make use of new experimental data across different rhizosphere processes (and thus across different disciplines) and scales. Described models are tools to test hypotheses and consequently improve our mechanistic understanding of how rhizosphere processes impact plant-scale behaviour. Linking multiple scales and processes is the logical next step for future research.

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How to cite


Schnepf, A., Carminati, A., Ahmed, M., Ami, M., Benard, P., Bentz, J.,... Vetterlein, D. (2022). Linking rhizosphere processes across scales: Opinion. Plant and Soil.


Schnepf, Andrea, et al. "Linking rhizosphere processes across scales: Opinion." Plant and Soil (2022).

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