We are delighted to share our proposal entitled “The critical role of rhizosheath biophysics in plant water availability” has been funded by the Australian Research Council. Chief Investigators are Charles Warren, Iain Young, Richard Trethowan and Sheikh Rabbi (all from University of Sydney)
This project aims to determine how plants can increase their water availability by altering the small volume of soil, the rhizosheath, that adheres to roots. We will integrate metabolomics, biophysics and microbial ecology to determine for the first time which of a suite of interconnected factors increase water availability in the root zone. Expected outcomes include better understanding of the direct and indirect roles of soil pore geometry, root exudates and microbial communities play in shaping plant’s ability to take up water from soil. This knowledge may ultimately pave the way for engineering the rhizosheath of crops to cope with increased drought conditions.