Virtual split-root experiment: the two soil compartments are hydraulically independent from each other.
LEFT: Soil water content; blue = wet / red = dry
MIDDLE: Water uptake from the soil.
RIGHT: Closeup for the root system and particles; colored from lower (red) to higher particle masses.
DESCRIPTION OF THE VIRTUAL EXPERIMENT: The experiments starts at day 20. For 5 days each compartment gets the same amount of irrigation water (5 cm^3 d^-1) - no changes are visible. At day 25, all the water is added to the left side of the compartment, so the total amount of water that the plant receives remaines constant. As the right compartment starts to dry out, the transpiration has to be upheld by the left compartment only. The root tips in the right compartment however produce a hormonal signal, that increases the dryer the roots get. Those hormones are transported through the root system towards the above ground part of the plant. The transpiration is reduced, the more signal arrives in the above ground part of the plant. Thus a non-uniform distribution of soil water can lead to a lower water consumption of plants.
MATERIALS: Simulations were conducted using R-SWMS; video was rendered with Paraview.
copyright FZ Jülich GmbH, Agrosphere Institute

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