What are root reserves?
Root reserves are the stored nutrients and energy plants use for growth and development. These reserves are found in the roots of the plant and are essential for the plant’s survival.
There are two types of root reserves: non-structural carbohydrates and structural carbohydrates. Non-structural carbohydrates, also known as non-structural sugars, are sugars the plant has produced through photosynthesis but has not yet used for growth or development. On the other hand, structural carbohydrates are the structural components of the plant, such as cellulose and lignin.
Root reserves are essential for several reasons. First and foremost, they provide the plant with energy and nutrients for growth and development. When a plant is not receiving enough nutrients from the soil, it can draw on its root reserves to continue growing and developing.
Root reserves are essential for the plant’s survival during stress. That is because roots underground have better environmental conditions and unique structures for storing nutrients. During periods of drought, a plant may not be able to access enough water from the soil. In this case, the plant can draw on its root reserves to grow and develop. Similarly, the plant can withstand extreme temperatures, such as cold winters or hot summers. For example, deciduous plants in temperate climates have developed a survival mechanism in which they forego growing their leaves in the winter to store nutrients. They can use these nutrients later in the first spring growth as energy for the first 30-60 days of growth.
Overall, root reserves are an essential component of a plant’s growth and development and play a crucial role in the plant’s ability to withstand stress and provide for human and animal needs. Without root reserves, plants would not be able to survive and thrive in the face of environmental challenges. The measurement and analysis of root reserves are essential factors that can help farmers manage their plants’ nutrition, post-harvest fertilization, metabolism, level of reserves, and vegetative balances.
How are the primary nutrients stored?
The primary nutrients reserved in plant roots are carbohydrates, such as sugars and starches. These nutrients are produced through photosynthesis and are stored in the plant’s roots until they are needed for growth and development. In addition to carbohydrates, plants store small amounts of proteins, lipids, and other compounds in their roots.
The specific way these nutrients are stored varies depending on the type of nutrient. For example, carbohydrates are typically stored as non-structural sugars or structural carbohydrates. Non-structural sugars, such as glucose and fructose, are soluble in water and can be easily accessed by the plant for immediate use. Structural carbohydrates, such as cellulose and lignin, are more complex, insoluble compounds that provide the plant with structural support.
In addition to the type of nutrient, how it is stored also depends on the plant species. Different plants have evolved different strategies for storing and accessing their root reserves. For example, some plants store their reserves in specialized cells within the root, while others store their reserves throughout the entire root tissue.
Overall, the primary nutrients reserved in plant roots are carbohydrates, and the specific way they are stored varies depending on the type of nutrient and the plant species. These reserves are essential for the plant’s survival and provide the plant with a source of energy and nutrients for growth and development.
Arginine: essential amino acid is considered the primary source of Nitrogen storage in fruit trees. This storage occurs in wood and buds, but especially in the roots. Plants have selected arginine as a reserve source because it is nitrogens’ most concentrated available amino acid.
Starch is the primary way of storing carbohydrates in vines and fruit trees. This accumulation occurs in fruitwood and buds, particularly in the roots. Starch as a source of reserves is very efficient because it is converted into simple usable sugars (glucose, fructose). In the vine, starch in roots can make up 40% of the dry matter.
Phosphorus: the seasonal variation curves of phosphorus at roots indicate that they are a necessary reserve form, accumulating from post-harvest and reaching maximums in the recess. The specific reservation form has yet to be identified; however, the total phosphorous is a good indicator, with acceptable values in the range of 0.15 to 0.2%.
Potassium: in the roots is still under discussion since a specific form of the reserve has yet to be specified. It has been described that better sprouts and productions have been obtained when root potassium levels are between 0.35 and 0.45%.
Sampling and Analysis of Root Reserves
A root reserve analysis is a method used to measure the amount and types of nutrients stored in a plant’s roots. This analysis can provide several benefits, including:
- Understanding a plant’s nutritional status: By measuring the levels of different nutrients in a plant’s roots, a root reserve analysis can provide insight into the plant’s nutritional status. This information can identify nutrient deficiencies or imbalances that may limit the plant’s growth or development.
- Evaluating plant response to stress: Root reserves are used by plants to withstand environmental stress, such as drought or extreme temperatures. A root reserve analysis can provide insight into how well a plant can cope with stress by measuring the levels of root reserves before and after a stressful event.
- Improving plant breeding and selection: By measuring the levels of root reserves in different plant varieties, a root reserve analysis can help plant breeders and researchers identify varieties that are more resilient and better able to withstand stress. This information can be used to improve plant breeding programs and select the best varieties for different environments.
AGQ Labs has abundant resources for root reserve analysis and agricultural testing. We have a validated sampling and analytical protocol for many crops. A root reserve analysis can provide valuable information about a plant’s nutritional status, response to stress, and potential for breeding and selection. This information can be used to improve our understanding of plant growth and development and to develop strategies for improving plant performance.