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Deep roots : a key to support great wheat consumption in China

6 Feb 2023

Summary of our research

The North China Plain (NCP) is one of the most important regions for wheat supply in China. In the NCP where evaporation exceeds precipitation, wheat plants are produced with groundwater to meet plant water requirement. The long-term water pumping, however, has reduced the groundwater level significantly, giving serious threats to environmental quality and agricultural sustainability in the region. Therefore, the development of water-saving technologies is acutely needed for wheat supply in China.

A group of scientists from Mie University and the Chinese Academy of Science conducted a field trial in the NCP to tackle with this serious issue. In the trial, plants were grown with a varied level of irrigation, and rooting depths were controlled by a special structure buried in the field. The scientists then revealed that wheat plants can develop extremely large roots that are deeper than 2m, if wheat plants develop deep roots, they can acquire soil water efficiently during later growth stages when grain (source of wheat flour) yield is determined, and so on.

Their findings are expected to contribute to the development of water-saving technologies such as new cultivation techniques that induce the development of deeper roots in wheat plants and new wheat cultivars inherited with a deep rooting capacity. The study was published in a world-renowned journal, Agricultural Water Management, on May 16, 2022.

State of research

Researcher information

Photo of SEKIYA Nobuhito

SEKIYA Nobuhito

Professor, Gladuate School of Bioresources

Specialized area:

Crop Science

Current research field:

Sustainable Rice Production (Organic Rice Farming)