Drought-tolerant and drought-susceptible rice (Oryza sativa) varieties have previously been shown to exhibit different trends in root hydraulic traits. Henry et al. carry out an investigation to measure root xylem sap bleeding rates and root hydraulic conductivity in order to understand how environmental factors affect the physiological features of these groupings.
The study shows that varietal differences in root hydraulic properties are partly explained by transpiration rates and levels of irradiance in the field, and also by the physiological traits governing osmotic potential, such as suberin content. By affecting water movement within the plant, such varietal differences in root hydraulic properties may provide important resources for further improving and understanding the drought responses of rice.
This paper is part of the Root Biology Special Issue.