A root hairless barley mutant for elucidating genetic of root hairs and phosphorus uptake (Correction in v. 242, 2002, p. 299)

T.S. Gahoonia, N.E. Nielsen, A.J. Priyavadan, A. Jahoor

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    This paper reports a new barley mutant missing root hairs. The mutant was spontaneously discovered among the population of wild type (Pallas, a spring barley cultivar), producing normal, 0.8 mm long root hairs. We have called the mutant bald root barley (brb). Root anatomical studies confirmed the lack of root hairs on mutant roots. Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) analyses of the genomes of the mutant and Pallas supported that the brb mutant has its genetic background in Pallas. The segregation ratio of selfed F-2 plants, resulting from mutant and Pallas outcross, was 1:3 (-root hairs:+root hairs), suggesting a monogenic recessive mode of inheritance.

    In rhizosphere studies, Pallas absorbed nearly two times more phosphorus (P) than the mutant. Most of available inorganic P in the root hair zone (0.8 mm) of Pallas was depleted, as indicated by the uniform P depletion profile near its roots. The acid phosphatase (Apase) activity near the roots of Pallas was higher and Pallas mobilised more organic P in the rhizosphere than the mutant. The higher Apase activity near Pallas roots also suggests a link between root hair formation and rhizosphere Apase activity. Hence, root hairs are important for increasing plant P uptake of inorganic as well as mobilisation of organic P in soils.

    Laboratory, pot and field studies showed that barley cultivars with longer root hairs (1.10 mm), extracted more P from rhizosphere soil, absorbed more P in low-P field (Olsen P=14 mg P kg(-1) soil), and produced more shoot biomass than shorter root hair cultivars (0.63 mm). Especially in low-P soil, the differences in root hair length and P uptake among the cultivars were significantly larger. Based on the results, the perspectives of genetic analysis of root hairs and their importance in P uptake and field performance of cereals are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPlant and Soil
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)211-219
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

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