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Editor's comments: "I liked this paper because they examined soil carbon dynamics in soil depth well beyond what most other studies would consider as the rooting zone of crops. Essentially, they reveal that these deep soils have potential for long-term carbon storage, but importantly, when they are planted with deep-rooted crops”
As part of her Ph.D.-studies at Dept. of Plant and Environmental Sciences at University of Copenhagen, Guanying Chen has studied deep root and water- and nitrogen uptake during the course of the Deep Root project. She has carried out studies in the root towers facilities, focusing on the crops chicory and winter rapeseed. This led to some interesting and quite surprising findings.
Leanne Peixoto will this summer graduate as a Ph.D. from Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University, where she worked on the Deep Frontier project, focusing on carbon storage in deep soil layers. Some of her findings during the project were quite surprising, and they emphasize the need to better understand interactions and activities in deep soil layers, if the potential of soil carbon storage in agriculture is to be wholly unfolded.
Eusun Han joined the Deep Frontier project in 2016 at its very initial phase, mainly to work in the field trial called DeepRootLab (DRL). Before that Eusun obtained his Ph.D degree from University of Bonn, Germany, studying on root growth in the subsoil under varying soil structural conditions. His main task in the Deep Frontier project has been developing the field facility and methods for quantification of root growth and function. To that end, the ingrowth-cores method and an AI-software were newly created to investigate deep roots’ function at unprecedent scales.
Deep roots have become a hot topic in agricultural science. That is due to the fact that they allow the crop to exploit unused nutrients and water from the deep soil layers thereby increasing the sustainability of agriculture. However, most of the current agricultural cropping systems cannot utilize deep soil resources efficiently. The main limitation is the rooting depth, which it too shallow to access what subsoil has to offer. Intercropping is a one way to enhance the deep root growth of agricultural crops.
Growing deep-rooted perennial crop attracts the attention of researchers and farmers to address modern agricultural challenges such as improving drought resistance. Alfalfa and intermediate wheatgrass are capable of taking up water to a depth of 2.0 m in the soil. However, understanding the farming context in which such crops would be beneficial remains complex.
The Deep Frontier project has collaborated internationally throughout the project period. Two Australian researchers visited the project in December 2019 – January 2020 and carried out research using the unique facilities for studying deep roots built at Højbakkegaard: Dr. John Kirkegaard, Chief Research Scientist, and Dr. Julianne Lilley, Crop Physiologist, both from CSIRO Agriculture & Food (The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) based in Canberra, ACT, Australia.
A more targeted recruitment of beneficial microorganisms in an environment of fewer resources. That is one of the main findings in a study focusing on how crops recruit bacteria and fungi in deep soil. The study maps part of the journey of microorganisms from the top soil and down to the deep roots, and findings suggests that plants do benefit from growing deeper roots.
Some of the unique Deep Frontier research facilities were presented as ‘Technology of the month’ in ‘Trends in Plant Science’ in the April 2020 issue.…
A review prepared by a group of researchers from the Deep Frontier project in collaboration with researchers from Australia, France and the USA was published in the April 2020 issue of ‘Trends in Plant Science’. In the review they explore the potential of sustainable intensification through extending the root depth of crops to increase the volume of soil exploited by their root system.
The Deep Frontier project recently hosted an international workshop that summoned some of the leading root experts from around the world.
When a drought hits, there is often still water in the deeper soil. If crops have deep roots, they can access this water. Chicory is such a crop, and it takes up substantial amounts of water from the deep soil; however not enough to escape a drought.
Carbon (C) turnover in subsoil was studied by Zhi Liang, PhD student of the Deep Frontier project. The results presents a framework for enhanced subsoil C stock through a deep-rooted cropping system as related to root nitrogen (N) and lignin contents, soil N availability, and microbial activity.
What is going on in the deep soil layers? How do crops response to water stress? Do plants get water and nutrition from the deep soil layers? Do deep roots affect the soils’ microorganisms? How can we utilise plants with deep roots? Get answers to these questions when the Robusta project invites to 'The Day of the Roots' in Taastrup, Denmark.
Preliminary results about carbon turnover in top- and subsoil were presented at a recent symposium. The poster, which was prepared by Zhi Liang, Ph.D.-student of the Deep Frontier project, won the prize for ‘Best poster’.
Seminar June 12 2017, 13.00 – 16.00: Invitation to the seminar: Roots for sustainability
On 12 June we have a visit from an international group of scientists working on plant roots and their significance for the exploitation of water and nutrients from the soil by plants and crops.
The advisory board affiliated to the Deep Frontier project consists of a strong team of international experts. Last week, the team led a ph.d. course at the project facility at Højbakkegaard. The advisory board members also gave valuable input to the further development and design of the research taking place in the project.
The DeepRootLab area has been prepared and this autumn intercropping between Lucerne and Winter Wheat will take place in 6 of the scheduled 24 plots.
Twelve root towers are planned to study deep rooting in detail. The first 6 root towers have been established.
PhD student Camilla Ruø Rasmussen and PhD student Affendy Bin Hassan have completed a joint experiment testing methods for water uptake and DNA extraction from soil.
Project partners have presented various aspects of the project for a curious audience. The presentations were in Danish and were made into videos. The videos can be viewed on ICROFS' website.