The development of a wax layer method for screening the ability of rice (Oryza sativa L.) roots to overcome mechanical impedance is described. Wax layers (3 mm thick) made of mixtures of white soft paraffin and paraffin wax were installed 50 mm deep in tubes of sand. The sand was watered with nutrient solution and planted with 3-d old rice seedlings. The numbers of root axes per plant that had penetrated the wax layers 24 d after planting were counted. The ratio of penetrated to total root axes per plant gave a misleading measure of root penetration ability, as rice varieties differed in the ratio of penetrated to total axes in a low impedance (3% wax) control. In non-flooded conditions, a 60% wax layer decreased root penetration (number of roots penetrating the wax layer per plant) to a mean of 74% of the low impedance control, whereas an 80% wax layer decreased mean root penetration to 31% of the control. The best measure of root penetration in non-flooded conditions was the number of axes penetrating an 80% wax layer. Flooding decreased root penetration of a 60% wax layer to a mean of 26% of the low impedance control. The best measure of root penetration in flooded conditions was the number of axes penetrating a 60% wax layer.
Clarke, L.J.; Aphale, S.L.; Barraclough, P.B. Screening the ability of rice roots to overcome the mechanical impedance of wax layers: Importance of test conditions and measurement criteria. Plant and Soil (2000) 219 (1/2) 187-196. [DOI: 10.1023/A:1004753900945]