Roots' Drought Adaptive Traits in Crop Improvement
journal contributionposted on 2023-02-07, 03:53 authored by Mirza ShoaibMirza Shoaib, Bikram BanerjeeBikram Banerjee, Matthew HaydenMatthew Hayden, Surya KantSurya Kant
Drought is one of the biggest concerns in agriculture due to the projected reduction of global freshwater supply with a concurrent increase in global food demand. Roots can significantly contribute to improving drought adaptation and productivity. Plants increase water uptake by adjusting root architecture and cooperating with symbiotic soil microbes. Thus, emphasis has been given to root architectural responses and root–microbe relationships in drought-resilient crop development. However, root responses to drought adaptation are continuous and complex processes and involve additional root traits and interactions among themselves. This review comprehensively compiles and discusses several of these root traits such as structural, physiological, molecular, hydraulic, anatomical, and plasticity, which are important to consider together, with architectural changes, when developing drought resilient crop varieties. In addition, it describes the significance of root contribution in improving soil structure and water holding capacity and its implication on long-term resilience to drought. In addition, various drought adaptive root ideotypes of monocot and dicot crops are compared and proposed for given agroclimatic conditions. Overall, this review provides a broader perspective of understanding root structural, physiological, and molecular regulators, and describes the considerations for simultaneously integrating multiple traits for drought tolerance and crop improvement, under specific growing environments.