Trait 1 : Root Development

One important target for breeding new varieties with improved water and fertilizer use efficiencies is the root system.

Optimized root system architecture (RSA) is relevant to overcome yield limitations in crop plants caused by shortages in water and/or nutrients.
RSA at both the macro- (e.g. root length, branching and growth angle) and micro-scales (e.g. root cell diameter and root hair production) determine the distribution of root surface area within the soil profile and therefore the plant’s capacity to capture nutrients and water thus having a direct impact on crop productivity, particularly under conditions of biotic and abiotic stresses including low resource availability.

In addition, rhizosphere microbes interact with roots and modulate their growth and development by fixing nitrogen in the air.
Understanding how roots interact with their abiotic and biotic environment is a relevant challenge for the development of a sustainable agriculture.

In the context of the 3P project, interesting root traits from model plants will be transferred to cultivated crops relevant to French and EU agriculture, such as pea and tomato.

Root phenotyping : Left image, a confocal image of the RAM can be converted through a modelling approach to a detailed 3D structure where quantification of different cellular parameters can be automatized. This demonstrated a specific change in the volume of cortex cells at a specific cellular position inside the RAM (graph imposed on the RAM). This was quantified for many plants in an automated way (Bars) to establish the statistical relevance of the action of this miRNA on root growth