An effective method for estimation of rice (Oryza sativa L.) crown root numbers at the heading stage in saline-sodic soils of Northeast China

M Liu, Z-W Liang, L-H Huang, M-M Wang, H-Y Yang


Saline-sodic stress is a major abiotic constraint responsiblefor rice (Oryza sativa L.) yield reductions in Northeast China.The rice root system is crucial for yield development, and it is usuallyrecognized as the key for improving future crop productivity. However,most of the saline-sodic soils in these areas contain high levelsof soluble Na2CO3 and NaHCO3, which results in a high pH (>8.5),clay dispersion, soil swelling, and overall poor soil physical properties.Isolation, washing and measurement of the rice crown roots is highlytime-demanding in this kind of soil. Our aim was to explore whetherdifferences in shoot characters could be reliable indicators, and a lowcost and easy method for estimating crown root numbers in rice. Inthis study, 97 randomly selected field-grown rice hill plants, with728 stem samples, of three genotypes at the heading stage were usedin saline-sodic soils. Results gave a reliable estimation of values forcrown root numbers as indicated by high positive correlations withnumber of stems (0.788***) and tillers (0.801***); diameter of long(0.545***), short (0.555***), and mean stems (0.586**), and hill (i.e.,equal to 5 plants) circumference (0.796***) and mean hill diameter(0.366***) (P<0.001). The method proposed here was very useful inevaluating the crown root numbers through direct measurementsunder saline-sodic field conditions.

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Phyton. International Journal of Experimental Botany. ISSN print 0031-9457 ISSN en line 1851-5657 Fundación Rómulo Raggio Gaspar Campos 861,  Vicente López, Buenos Aires, Argentina (C.P. 1638) Tel 54 11 4791-0868 / 4796-1456