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DFG Research Unit 1320

Crop Sequence and the Acquisition from the Subsoil

TP 3 - ImpTom
Non-destructive characterization and monitoring of root structure and function at the rhizotron and field scale using spectral electrical impedance tomography

This subproject aims at the development of spectral electrical impedance tomography (EIT) as a non-destructive tool for the imaging, characterization and monitoring of root structure and function in the subsoil at the field scale.

The approach takes advantage of the capacitive properties of the soil-root interface associated with induced electrical polarization processes at the root membrane. These give rise to a characteristic electrical signature (impedance spectrum), which is measurable in an imaging framework using EIT. In the first project phase, the methodology is developed by means of controlled rhizotron experiments in the laboratory. The goal is to establish quantitative relationships between characteristics of the measured impedance spectra and parameters describing root system morphology, root growth and activity in dependence on root type, soil type and structure (with/without biopores), as well as ambient conditions. Parallel to this work, sophisticated EIT inversion algorithms, which take the natural characteristics of root system architecture into account when solving the inherent inverse problem, will be developed and tested in numerical experiments. Thus the project will provide an understanding of electrical impedance spectra in terms of root structure and function, as well as specifically adapted EIT inversion algorithms for the imaging and monitoring of root dynamics. The method will be applied at the field scale (central field trial in Klein-Altendorf), where non-destructive tools for the imaging and monitoring of subsoil root dynamics are strongly desired, but at present still lacking.

Project duration: 1.4.2010 - 31.3.2013

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Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


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DFG Forschergruppe 1320

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DFG Research Unit 1320


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