Drought Induced Anatomical Changes in Roots

Roots are the primary sites of water and nutrient uptake by plants. Roots also have a remarkable capacity to sense and respond to most of the phys-icochemical parameters of the soil by adjusting their growth and water transport properties accordingly; these functions being tightly linked to shoot physiology (Bengough et al. 2011). Therefore, under limiting soil water availability conditions, roots may play an important role in maintaining the water status of the whole plant. In particular, morphological and anatomical alterations induced in roots in response to drought result in modification of their soil water extrapolation ability through changes in either allometric parameters - in terms of root branching (lateral root formation) and rate and direction of growth of individual roots and/or in roots water conductivity (Bengough et al. 2011). The importance and relative contribution of these two mechanisms in evaluating the different ability of plants to withstand drought conditions is becoming of increasing interest to plant scientists (Gewin 2010).

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