High-throughput phenotyping of root systems requires a combination of specialized techniques and adaptable plant growth, root imaging and software tools. A custom phenotyping platform was designed to capture images of whole root systems, and novel software tools were developed to process and analyse these images. The platform and its components are adaptable to a wide range root phenotyping studies using diverse growth systems (hydroponics, paper pouches, gel and soil) involving several plant species, including, but not limited to, rice, maize, sorghum, tomato and Arabidopsis. The RootReader2D software tool is free and publicly available and was designed with both user-guided and automated features that increase flexibility and enhance efficiency when measuring root growth traits from specific roots or entire root systems during large-scale phenotyping studies. To demonstrate the unique capabilities and high-throughput capacity of this phenotyping platform for studying root systems, genome-wide association studies on rice (Oryza sativa) and maize (Zea mays) root growth were performed and root traits related to aluminium (Al) tolerance were analysed on the parents of the maize nested association mapping (NAM) population.
Clark, R.T.; Famoso, A.N.; Zhao, K.; Shaff, J.E.; Craft, J.E.; Bustamante, C.D.; McCouch, S.R.; Aneshansley, D.J.; Kochian, L.V. High-throughput two-dimensional root system phenotyping platform facilitates genetic analysis of root growth and development. Plant, Cell and Environment (2012) 36 (2) 454-466. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2012.02587.x]