rhizotraits: rhizosphere traits enhancing yield resilience to drought in modern cropping systems
Laufzeit: 2020 – 2024
Functional rhizosphere traits are of fundamental importance to increase resistance and resilience of yields to future climate change. Still, an optimization of belowground traits has been rarely considered in plant breeding schemes. Over the past 50 years, crops have been selected under optimal water and nutrient supply with little adaptation to erratic weather conditions such as drought. In this way, traits that performed best under uniform (in space) and constant (in time) resource supply were selected. Consequently, breeding for highly productive species with little investments in roots may have reduced the resistance and resilience of yields to drought in our agroecosystems.
Future agroecosystems in South Germany will suffer from increasing abiotic stress such as summer droughts. Are key rhizosphere traits (e.g. root hairs, exudates, soil structure, mycorrhization) capable of increasing the resistance and resilience of crops under drought in order to secure yields? To answer this question, a comparative approach is chosen in this project, which focuses on high yield varieties vs. old landraces of wheat and maize genotypes and different soil types.