Exploring plants' root adaptive responses and their impact on crop production
Plants forage for water and nutrients just like animals do – well, almost. Since they are not mobile, they do it with their roots. In order to optimise foraging, plants have evolved adaptive responses that change root shape via branching. Understanding the mechanisms driving adaptive responses at the root–soil interface will be important to maximising crop performance in the future. In particular, the challenges of climate change and water scarcity are impacting food crops, while population growth necessitates greater food production. The EU-funded Xerobranching project is studying the response of root tip tissues to transient water stress for insight that could help crops grow better under conditions of water scarcity.