Root system variation of pulse crops at early vegetative stage
Grain legumes known as “Pulse crops” are economically and nutritionally one of the most important crop families after cereals. Climate change and abiotic stress factors are limiting yield potential in these crops. Root system architecture, a neglected field, is promising for improved environmental adaptability and higher growth potential. Genotypes with deep and dense root system may cope better with water and nutrient limitations. This study aimed to evaluate 12 common cultivars from six different legume species. Root system architectures were evaluated under controlled conditions in a plexiglass system at the early vegetative stage. Roots were divided into four depth zones (0, 5, 10, 15> cm), and inter and intra species diversity were analysed. Significant diversity was obtained within and between the species. Bean, chickpea, and broad bean constituted deeper and dense root systems while lentil, soybean, and pea formed non-dense and shallower root systems. There was a significant correlation between earliness and early vegetative root vigour. The results of the study may provide a better understanding of the root system architectures of each species-genera. The results presented here may shed light on the selection of root traits in legume breeding programs.
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