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21 December 2023 An intellectual gap in root research on major crops of the Canadian Prairies
Linda Yuya Gorim
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Prairie cropping systems face several challenges, including high input costs and climate change. Research to address these challenges has focused on above-ground agronomic parameters while completely ignoring the role roots play below ground. The objectives of this review study are to (i) synthesize past root studies carried out in the Canadian Prairies, (ii) provide a context for prairie root research, and (iii) identify gaps for future research. This review reports that root architectural traits of major crops have been assessed under field and greenhouse conditions in soil, artificial media, and a mixture of both soil and media, mostly under natural/well-watered and drought conditions. Several root traits have been compared for major crops grown with respect to moisture levels and nutrient uptake. A dearth of research exists on the complex relationship between root traits, soil microbiome, nutrient uptake, carbon sequestration, and photosynthetic efficiency. No studies were found relating root traits, fertilizer placement, and nitrogen and water use efficiencies, carbon sequestration, soil microbiome dynamics, and common root diseases. This review also reports that more research and funding are needed to exploit the benefits that root research will bring to further sustainability goals and ensure food security in the Canadian Prairies.

Linda Yuya Gorim "An intellectual gap in root research on major crops of the Canadian Prairies," Canadian Journal of Plant Science 104(3), 181-191, (21 December 2023).
Received: 8 February 2023; Published: 21 December 2023

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Canadian prairies
phenotyping methodologies
prairie crops
root architectural traits
root research gap
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