Carbon cost of root systems: an architectural approach

Kai L. Nielsen, Jonathan P. Lynch, Andrei G. Jablokow, Peter S. Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Root architecture is an important component of nutrient uptake and may be sensitive to carbon allocational changes brought about by rising CO2. We describe a deformable geometric model of root growth, SimRoot, for the dynamic morphological and physiological simulation of root architectures. Using SimRoot, and measurements of root biomass deposition, respiration and exudation, carbon/phosphorus budgets were developed for three contrasting root architectures. Carbon allocation patterns and phosphorus acquisition efficiencies were estimated for Phaseolus vulgaris seedlings with either a dichotomous, herringbone, or empirically determined bean root architecture. Carbon allocation to biomass, respiration, and exudation varied significantly among architectures. Root systems also varied in the relationship between C expenditure and P acquisition, providing evidence for the importance of architecture in nutrient acquisition efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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