News archive

2021.01.27 | Publication

Leanne Peixoto's Paper published in Soil Biology and Biochemistry on carbon storage and deep rooted crops selected as editor's choice

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”

2021.01.19 | Research news

New insights on water- and nitrogen uptake in deep roots

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…

Soil cores to 1.5 meter depth were taken inside all labeling plots, and cores were subdivided into four depth intervals: 0-25, 25-50, 50-100 and 100-150 cm.

2021.01.19 | Research news

Carbon storage in deep soil layers - potentials and interactions with microorganisms

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…

Insertion of ingrowth core into access tube in the filed facility, called the Deep Root Lab

2020.11.17 | Research news

New methods developed pave way for new insights

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…

2020.11.03 | Research news

Intercropping sugar beet with chicory enhances deep root growth

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…

Intermediate wheatgrass growing in the DeepRootLab. Intermediate wheatgrass, Thinopyruum Intermedium, is a perennial grass extensively used for cattle forage. With genetic similarity to wheat, it offers good prospects for breeding a perennial grain crop and breeding programs are now lead by the Land Institute, Kansas, USA which has trademarked it under the name (Kernza©).
Figure 1. Representation of the water transport pathway along the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum from (McElrone et al. 2013) (A) Water movement from areas of high water potential (i.e. soil) to low water potential (i.e. air). (1) Transpiration: evaporation of water from the leaf mesophyll cell creating tension and movement of water (2) through the xylem and (3) out to the roots to the soil.
Figure 2. Global annual Net Primary Production (NPP) in grams of C per square meter per year for the biosphere, from (Field et al., 1988).

2020.09.16 | Research news

Deep-rooted perennial crops. Are they capable of taking up water from deep soil layers? Could they be interesting for agriculture?

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…

2020.05.20 | Research news

Deep Roots – connect Denmark with Australia

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…

2020.05.04 | Research news

Microbial activity in deep-rooted crops – what goes on down there?

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…

2020.05.04 | Research news

Trends in Plant Science - Technology of the month: Exposing Deep Roots: A Rhizobox Laboratory

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. The 4 meter high root towers – 12 towers each with 2 units (4 x 1.2 x 0.3 m) were described and illustrated together with the methods developed for studying deep roots (below 1.5 m) such as ingrowth…

2020.05.04 | Research news

Trends in Plant Science - Review: Digging Deeper for Agricultural Resources, the Value of Deep Rooting

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…

Anton Wasson, CSIRO, Australia, giving his presentation "Getting more from the core" at the Deep Frontier international workshop.

2019.12.19 | Events

Leading root researchers gathered in Copenhagen

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 and the soil dries out, only crops with deep roots have access to deep stored soil moisture. Figure/infographic by Camilla Ruø Rasmussen

2019.07.22 | News type

Deep roots help crops to survive - but not necessarily to thrive

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.

Photo: Excavated soil profile under cultivated grassland

2018.12.04 | News type

Root litter chemistry and soil nutrient availability affect subsoil carbon turnover

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.

2018.05.15 | Events

Go in-depth with deep roots on 'The Day of the Roots', 4 June 2018 (in Danish)

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.

2017.09.29 | Agriculture and food

Promising results about carbon turnover in deep soil

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’.

2017.05.23 |

Seminar:Roots for sustainability

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.

2016.04.13 |

New ideas from international experts

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.

2015.09.21 |

DeepRoot Lab

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.

2015.09.21 | Research news

Root Towers

Twelve root towers are planned to study deep rooting in detail. The first 6 root towers have been established.

Photo: Camilla Ruø Rasmussen

2015.09.21 | Research news

Red Beet/Lucerne intercropping

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.

Live presentations of the project

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.