Objectives - Exploiting subsoil resources

The overall aim of the Deep Frontier project was to increase the exploitation of subsoil resources by deep roots in order to enhance food production in a sustainable way. The results also contributed to climate change mitigation and improved soil biodiversity through the increased organic matter input to the soil, especially in deep soil layers.

The specific objectives of the project were:

  • Increased  understanding of how deep rooting is achieved and identification of deep rooted species and cropping systems with significant root activity between 2-4 meters 
  • Development of unique facilities for deep root research for the project, for inspiration and for attracting collaboration with other scientists also after the project. 
  • Development and test of new methods for studying root growth and resource uptake (water and different plant nutrients) from deep soil layers (1-5 meters depth) 
  • Quantify potential use of resources from deep soil layers by different species and cropping systems and assess the potential environmental improvements in terms of nutrient cycling 
  • Study the effect of deeper and more permanent rooting on soil carbon storage and develop DNA based methods for understanding root interaction with soil biology in deep soil during growth and subsequent decomposition 
  • Create and communicate a compelling and accessible narrative on the biological and environmental value of deep root growth.

Photo from the field: Demonstrating the automated robot camera that can be inserted down to 5 meters in the ground and while being pulled upwards it takes pictures for every 10 cm.

See the facilities