Getting to the root of it: Predicting root biomass with electrical capacitance

Researchers in North America's largest breeding program for shrub willow -- an important biofuel crop -- have developed a method to measure belowground root biomass using electrical capacitance (an object's ability to store an electrical charge). The simple and inexpensive method is demonstrated in a recent issue of Applications in Plant Sciences. The new method enables selection of cultivars with traits including increased drought tolerance and can be applied in agricultural species and assessments of environmental responses.

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