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Imaging the root–rhizosphere interface using micro computed tomography: quantifying void ratio and root volume ratio profiles

Lookup NU author(s): Vasileios AngelidakisORCiD, Dr Saimir Luli, Dr Sadegh NadimiORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Root growth alters soil fabric and consequently its mechanical and physical properties. Recent studies show that roots induce compaction of soil in their immediate vicinity, a region that is central for plant health. However, high quality quantification of root influence on the soil fabric, able to inform computational models is lacking from the literature. This study quantifies the relationship between soil physical characteristics and root growth, giving special emphasis on how roots in early stage formation influence the physical architecture of the surrounding soil structure. High-resolution X-ray micro-Computed Tomography (µCT) is used to acquire three dimensional images of two homogeneously-packed samples. It is observed that the void ratio profile extending from the soil-root interface into the bulk soil is altered by root growth. The roots considerably modify the immediate soil physical characteristics by creating micro cracks at the soil-root interface and by increasing void ratio. This paper presents the mechanisms that led to the observed structure as well as some of the implications that it has in such a dynamic zone.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lascurain T, Angelidakis V, Luli S, Nadimi S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: EPJ Web of Conferences

Year: 2021

Volume: 249

Print publication date: 07/06/2021

Online publication date: 07/06/2021

Acceptance date: 07/06/2021

Date deposited: 07/06/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2100-014X

Publisher: EDP Sciences


DOI: 10.1051/epjconf/202124911005


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