Field phenotyping of plant roots by electrical capacitance – a standardized methodological protocol for application in plant breeding: a Review
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Department of Crop Science, Breeding and Plant Medicine, Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic
Division of Crop Management Systems, Crop Research Institute, Czech Republic
Institute of Plant Production, University of Agriculture in Kraków, Poland
Department of Applied and Landscape Ecology, Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic
Division of Agronomy, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria
Final revision date: 2020-01-16
Acceptance date: 2020-01-29
Publication date: 2020-03-09
Corresponding author
Tomáš Středa   

Department of Crop Science, Breeding and Plant Medicine, Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic
Int. Agrophys. 2020, 34(2): 173-184
Due to the absence of a suitable method and standardized procedures, the root systems of plants have been evaluated to a much lesser extent than aboveground organs. The aim of this article is (i) to provide a detailed description and thus standardization of an upgraded procedure of electrical capacitance measurement for evaluating the root system size of plants in situ, which allows re-assessment during the growing season and subsequent harvest of seeds for the planting of selected progenies, (ii) to demonstrate, through a standardized methodological protocol, the applicability of root electrical capacitance measurement as a field phenotyping method for the selection of superior root systems to improve crop abiotic stress tolerance and resource efficiency, (iii) to suggest a standardized methodological protocol for the application of electrical capacitance measurements in breeding nurseries, and (iv) to discuss methodological aspects, development and limitations of this method. A methodological overview of the use of electrical capacitance to measure plant root systems, emerging from working groups directed by the author of this unique method, is given along with a standardized protocol. An overview of the application of electrical capacitance measurements of roots in breeding is shown along with some examples of successful applications.
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