Particle-based model shows complex rearrangement of tissue mechanical properties are needed for roots to grow in hard soil

Matthias Mimault, Mariya Ptashnyk, Lionel X. Dupuy

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Abstract

When exposed to increased mechanical resistance from the soil, plant roots display non-linear growth responses that cannot be solely explained by mechanical principles. Here, we aim to investigate how changes in tissue mechanical properties are biologically regulated in response to soil strength. A particle-based model was developed to solve root-soil mechanical interactions at the cellular scale, and a detailed numerical study explored factors that affect root responses to soil resistance. Results showed how softening of root tissues at the tip may contribute to root responses to soil impedance, a mechanism likely linked to soil cavity expansion. The model also predicted the shortening and decreased anisotropy of the zone where growth occurs, which may improve the mechanical stability of the root against axial forces. The study demonstrates the potential of advanced modeling tools to help identify traits that confer plant resistance to abiotic stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1010916
JournalPLOS Computational Biology
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Anisotropy
  • Gravitation
  • Plant Roots
  • Soil

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