X-Ray Computed Tomography for Root Quantification


Soil cores from a field growing barley and barley mutants without root hairs under conventional and minimum tillage were sampled. They were X-ray scanned to produce a 3D image and then the roots were washed out and weight and length were determined by conventional means. Root volume and surface area were then calculated from the 3D images using state of the art software and methodology, and the measured and calculated measures were correlated. The only strong and significant correlation was between measured weight and calculated volume for mutants without root hairs. It is concluded that the software cannot segment out very small roots, but segmentation accuracy also depends on root structure in some unknown way. Any study using X-ray computed tomography to quantify roots as they grow in situ should start with a calibration for the conditions in question.

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Foereid, B. (2015) X-Ray Computed Tomography for Root Quantification. Open Journal of Soil Science, 5, 145-148. doi: 10.4236/ojss.2015.57014.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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