Contrasting ability of deep and shallow rooting rice genotypes to grow through plough pans containing simulated biopores and cracks

Md Dhin Islam* (Corresponding Author), Adam Price, Paul Hallett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Aims: Cracks and biopores in compacted soil such as plough pans could aid deep rooting, mitigating constraints to seasonal upland use of paddy fields for rice production. This research investigated how soil macropores through a simulated plough pan affects root growth of contrasting deep and shallow rooting rice genotypes.

Methods: Deep rooting Black Gora and shallow rooting IR64 rice varieties were grown in packed cores of unsaturated soil in a controlled greenhouse. Simulated biopores and cracks (macropores) were inserted through the plough pan to form treatments with no macropores, biopores, cracks, and combined cracks and biopores. Different root parameters such as root length density (RLD), root volume, root diameter, number of root tips and branches were measured. The number of roots was calculated manually, including the number of roots growing through macropores in the plough pan layer.

Results: Plough pans with macropores had 25–32% more roots than with no macropores. RLD was 55% greater in the plough pan layer if cracks were present compared to biopores. Conversely, RLD was 26% less in subsoil if the plough pan had cracks compared to biopores. Different root parameters were greatly influenced by the presence of macropores in the plough pan, and deep-rooted Black Gora produced 81% greater RLD, 30% more root numbers and 103% more branching than the shallow rooted rice genotype IR64 within the plough pan layer.

Conclusions: Macropores greatly improve rice root growth through plough pans for a deep rooting but not a shallow rooting rice variety. Whereas cracks produce a greater number of roots in the plough pan, biopores result in greater root branching and root numbers deeper in subsoil.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515–530
Number of pages16
JournalPlant and Soil
Early online date21 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Fundings: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission
Open access via Springer agreement
Acknowledgements This study was funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK. We thank all people that contributed to this work. In particular, Luke Harrold, Rong Qu, Yehia Hazzazi, Licida Maria Giuliani and Istiaq
Ahmed with their stimulating discussion during and after setting experiment. We are highly grateful to Annette Rafan, Dr. Stewart J Chalmers and Jaime Buckingham for providing technical support


  • RIce
  • Biopores
  • Cracks
  • Plough pan
  • Genotype
  • Macropores


Dive into the research topics of 'Contrasting ability of deep and shallow rooting rice genotypes to grow through plough pans containing simulated biopores and cracks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this