The use of mini-rhizotrons and micro-rhizotrons to quantify root turnover

TitleThe use of mini-rhizotrons and micro-rhizotrons to quantify root turnover
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1992
AuthorsAtkinson D, Hooker JE, Pauline O, Perry RL, Blasing D, Fogel RD
EditorKutschera L., Hubl E., Lichtenegger E., Persson H., Sobotik M.
Conference NameRoot Ecology and its Practical Application: proceedings of the Symposium of the International Society of Root Research 3
Date PublishedSeptember 2nd -
PublisherKlagenfurt: Verein fur Wurzelforschung
Conference LocationUniversity of Bodenkultur, Wien, Austria

Mini-rhizotrons, transparent tubes of 60 mm diameter viewed using a high resolution TV camera and micro-rhizotrons, transparent tubes of 25 mm diameter viewed using a boroscope were used to assess the growth of a range of perennial species in both field and laboratory studies. The mini-rhizotron method produces a permanent record of root development on video tape which can later be quantified using image analysis software. The equipment required for this is however relatively expensive ($25,000). In contrast the micro-rhizotron method does not produce a permanent record but uses a grid on the tube to allow direct root assessments and is relatively inexpensive ($1,400). The advantages and disadvantages of these two methods and the type of data they produce is discussed.