The rhizosphere has biological, chemical and physical properties that differ from those of bulk soil and which influence the availability of water and nutrients. Mucilage produced by roots contains a surface active agent which reduces the surface tension around the root. The presence of root cap cells in the mucilage gives it viscoelastic properties which draw soil particles towards the root surface and, together with the increasing viscosity as the soil dries and mucilage dehydrates, facilitates the formation of rhizosheaths.The development of non-invasive imaging allied with computed tomography (CT) has allowed the study of root systems in situ and the observation of root growth. It is now possible to achieve cone beam images in a scanning time of 30 minutes with a resolution of 100 .m. Further developments of this technique should allow changes in bulk density and water content close to the root surface to be observed and quantified.
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Optimisation of X-ray micro-tomography for the in situ study of the development of plant rootsI.E.E.E.)| false
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