Building soil sustainability from root-soil interface traits

Paul Hallett* (Corresponding Author), Maria Marin, Gary D Bending, Timothy S. George, Chris Collins, Wilfred Otten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Great potential exists to harness plant traits at the root-soil interface, mainly rhizodeposition and root hairs, to “build” soils with better structure that can trap more carbon and resources, resist climate stresses and promote a healthy
microbiome. These traits appear to have been preserved in modern crop varieties, but scope exists to improve them further as they vary considerably between genotypes and respond to environmental conditions. From emerging evidence, rhizodeposition can act as a disperser, aggregator and/or hydrogel in soil, and root hairs expand rhizosheath size. Future research should explore impacts of selecting these traits on plants and soils concurrently, expanding from model plants to commercial genotypes, and observing whether impacts currently limited to glasshouse studies occur in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688-698
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number7
Early online date12 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

This research was supported by the NERC/BBSRC Soil Security Programme (NE/M005747/1) and projects in its portfolio (BB/L026058/1, BB/L025892/1, NE/P014208/1 and NE/P014224/1). The contribution of TSG was also supported with the financial support of the Rural & Environment Science & Analytical Services Division of the Scottish Government


  • rhizosphere
  • soil
  • soil structure
  • exudate
  • mucilage
  • root hair


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