Roots, plant production and nutrient use efficiency

P. de Willigen, M. van Noordwijk

    Research output: Thesisexternal PhD, WU


    The role of roots in obtaining high crop production levels as well as a high nutrient use efficiency is discussed. Mathematical models of diffusion and massflow of solutes towards roots are developed for a constant daily uptake requirement. Analytical solutions are given for simple and more complicated soil-root geometries. Nutrient and water availability in soils as a function of root length density is quantified, for various degrees of soil-root contact and for various root distribution patterns. Aeration requirements of root systems are described for simultaneous oxygen transport outside and inside the root.<p>Experiments with tomato and cucumber are discussed, which were aimed at determining the minimum root surface area required in an optimal root environment. Experiments on P-uptake by grasses on various soils were performed to test model calculations. Model calculations on the nitrogen balance of a maize crop in the humid tropics suggested practical measures to increase the nitrogen use efficiency.<p><TT></TT>
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • de Wit, C.T., Promotor
    • Raats, P.A.C., Co-promotor
    • Kuiper, P.J.C., Co-promotor, External person
    Award date13 Oct 1987
    Place of PublicationS.l.
    Publication statusPublished - 1987


    • roots
    • liquids
    • absorption

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