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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Aerenchyma Formation in Adventitious Roots of Tall Fescue and Cocksfoot under Waterlogged Conditions

Mui, Nguyen Thi; Zhou, Meixue; Parsons, David; Smith, Rowan William


The formation of aerenchyma in adventitious roots is one of the most crucial adaptive traits for waterlogging tolerance in plants. Pasture grasses, like other crops, can be affected by waterlogging, and there is scope to improve tolerance through breeding. In this study, two summer-active cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata L.) cultivars, Lazuly and Porto, and two summer-active tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum Schreb., syn. Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) cultivars, Hummer and Quantum II MaxP, were selected to investigate the effects of waterlogging on root growth and morphological change. Cultivars were subjected to four periods of waterlogging treatments (7, 14, 21 and 28 days), while comparable plants were kept under free drained control conditions. The experiment was arranged as a split–split plot design, with waterlogging treatments (waterlogged, control) considered as main plots, time periods (days of waterlogging) as subplots and cultivars as sub-subplots. Plants began to show signs of waterlogging stress 14–21 days after the onset of waterlogging treatments. There were no significant differences in shoot biomass between the waterlogged and control plants of any cultivar. However, waterlogging significantly reduced root dry matter in all cultivars, with greater reduction in cocksfoot (56%) than in tall fescue (38%). Waterlogging also led to increased adventitious root and aerenchyma formation in both species. Cocksfoot cultivars showed a greater increase in adventitious roots, while tall fescue cultivars had a greater proportion of aerenchyma. Both cultivars within each species showed similar responses to waterlogging treatments. However, an extended screening program is needed to identify whether there are varietal differences within species, which could be used to discover genes related to aerenchyma or adventitious root formation (waterlogging tolerance) for use in breeding programs.


aerenchyma formation; waterlogging tolerance; tall fescue; cocksfoot; grasses

Published in

2021, volume: 11, number: 22, article number: 2487

Authors' information

Mui, Nguyen Thi
Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry
Zhou, Meixue
University of Tasmania
University of Tasmania
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden
Smith, Rowan William
University of Tasmania

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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