Universität Bonn

INRES Crop Science

Comparison of the root length, biomass and architecture of old and modern wheat cultivars under different irrigation treatments

Master Thesis

Research area

Crop science

Motivation / State of the art / Relevance

Root length, root biomass and root morphology are important characteristics that can influence the water and nutrient uptake of crops. To better understand interactions between crops, their environment and agricultural management strategies, knowledge of root characteristics and root growth is essential. Compared to the observation of above-ground plant organs, observations of roots are associated with difficulties resulting from their buried nature. To understand how changes in agricultural systems, such as changes in crop varieties and irrigation, affect crop-soil interactions, we are conducting a field experiment at the Klein-Altendorf campus. In this experiment, we are using a new method to analyze root characteristics of six winter wheat varieties under field conditions that were widely grown in Germany between 1895 and 2002.


The objective of this study is to investigate and compare root traits of modern and old wheat cultivars, as well as their reaction to drought stress.

Methodology / Procedure / Workscope / external cooperation

This study comprises work on a field trial with six winter wheat varieties and two irrigation treatments. The measurements are carried out at three times during the growing season, at stem elongation (~beginning of April), at heading (~mid-May) and at flowering (~mid-June). At these times, work peaks are to be expected both in the field and in the laboratory, during which roots have to be first washed, i.e. separated from the surrounding soil, and then digitalized and analyzed using a scanner.

Expected results

We expect to see differences in the root architecture and the reaction to different water regimes between modern and old wheat cultivars.


5 Months


English or German

Previous knowledge

Interests in crop phenotyping


Dominik Behrend, Sabine Seidel



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