- Japanese Society of Breeding
- Breeding Science (ISSN:13447610)
- vol.71, no.1, pp.109-116, 2021 (Released:2021-02-25)
As plants cannot relocate, they require effective root systems for water and nutrient uptake. Root development plasticity enables plants to adapt to different environmental conditions. Research on improvements in crop root systems is limited in comparison with that in shoots as the former are difficult to image. Breeding more effective root systems is proposed as the “second green revolution”. There are several recent publications on root system architecture (RSA), but the methods used to analyze the RSA have not been standardized. Here, we introduce traditional and current root-imaging methods and discuss root structure phenotyping. Some important root structures have not been standardized as roots are easily affected by rhizosphere conditions and exhibit greater plasticity than shoots; moreover, root morphology significantly varies even in the same genotype. For these reasons, it is difficult to define the ideal root systems for breeding. In this review, we introduce several types of software to analyze roots and identify important root parameters by modeling to simplify the root system characterization. These parameters can be extracted from photographs captured in the field. This modeling approach is applicable to various legacy root data stored in old or unpublished formats. Standardization of RSA data could help estimate root ideotypes.