Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/13725
Title: Application of X-ray computed tomography to quantify fresh root decomposition in situ
Contributor(s): Haling, Rebecca  (author); Tighe, Matthew  (author); Flavel, Richard  (author)orcid ; Young, Iain  (author)
Publication Date: 2013
DOI: 10.1007/s11104-013-1777-y
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/13725
Abstract: Background and aims: Much of our understanding of plant root decomposition and related carbon cycling come from mass loss rates calculated from roots buried in litter bags. However, this may not reflect what actually happens in the soil, where the interactions between root and soil structure presents a more complex physico-chemical environment compared to organic matter isolated in a porous bag buried in disturbed soil. This work investigates the potential of using X-ray micro-computed tomography (CT) to measure root decomposition in situ. Methods: Roots of 'Vicia faba' L. were excised from freshly germinated seeds, buried in re-packed soil cores and cores incubated for 60 days. Changes in root volume and surface area were measured using repeated scans. Additional samples were destructively harvested and roots weighed to correlate root mass with root volume. The method was further applied to an experiment to investigate the effects of soil bulk density and soil moisture on root decomposition. Results: Root volume (X-ray CT) and root mass (destructive harvest) decreased by 90 % over the 60 day incubation period, by which stage, root volume and mass had stabilised. There was a strong correlation (R² = 0.97) between root volume and root mass. Conclusions: X-ray CT visualization and analysis provides a unique toolbox to understand root decomposition in situ.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Plant and Soil, 372(1-2), p. 619-627
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Place of Publication: The Netherlands
ISSN: 1573-5036
0032-079X
Field of Research (FOR): 050301 Carbon Sequestration Science
050305 Soil Physics
050303 Soil Biology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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