Modeling of Root-Soil Interactions

Modeling of Root-Soil Interactions

Modeling of Root-Soil Interactions

Studying the plant-soil continuum is a challenging task. CD BioSciences is committed to developing three-dimensional root architecture models and applying them for the investigation of complex plant-soil interactions. Our excellent modeling techniques and data analysis capabilities will provide a valuable contribution to your understanding of the relationship between structure, morphology and functional efficiency.


Plants can respond locally to the spatially and temporally varying soil environment through a variety of mechanisms, such as root morphology, root exudation, locally enhanced root proliferation and up-regulation of nutrient transport vectors. These local plastic responses allow plants to forage precisely in spatially and temporally heterogeneous environments, minimizing the metabolic costs of soil exploration. The complex root-soil interactions and the difficulties associated with visualizing and measuring them, make it a challenge to study the relationship between structure, morphology and functional efficiency.

The complexity of the interactions between root characteristics and the environment underlines the need for models in which traits and environmental conditions can be manipulated independently. The development of 3D root architecture models allows for accurate spatial and temporal descriptions of root architecture, providing a valuable tool for studying root system growth in response to supplies of soil resources that vary in space and time.

Explicit three-dimensional simulation of water uptake by a 13-day-old maize root system.Fig.1 Explicit three-dimensional simulation of water uptake by a 13-day-old maize root system. (Dunbabin, 2013)

Our Services

We study root-soil interactions at multiple spatial scales by building models that integrate soil properties and complete descriptions of plant function. Our models help clients to obtain useful information on the relationship between root structural traits and root distribution in the soil, as well as on the spatial and temporal variability of resource availability. We offer the following modeling services to our clients:

  • Development of three-dimensional root architecture models.
    We provide measurements of the rate of growth, the direction of growth and branching patterns to build 3D root architecture models that simulates the root system architecture in 3D space.
  • Simulating root systems in their environment.
    • Simulating water uptake dynamics.
      We use a variety of modeling methods to help our clients study the interaction between soil water dynamics and root structure. We use modeling to help our clients obtain useful information on the root-soil-water interactions, including the effect of soil hydraulic conductivity on soil water gradients across the root system, the effect of root hydraulic properties on water uptake with soil depth, and the effect of 3D root architecture on water uptake from soil.
    • Simulating nutrient uptake dynamics.
      We help our clients to develop multi-nutrient uptake models to simulate the uptake of several essential nutrients, such as phosphorus uptake and nitrate uptake. The modeling approach also makes it possible to study the interaction between root systems and nutrient benefit efficiency in different soils.
    • Simulating partitioning of resources for root growth.
      We help our clients to develop architecture models that simulate the carbon requirements of, and carbon allocation within, the root system.


  • Investigation of functional tradeoffs between foraging strategies for contrasting resources
  • Study on the correlation between root-soil interaction and soil types, rainfall and other environmental conditions
  • Improvement of plant performance in specific environments

CD BioSciences has a state-of-the-art technology platform and we help our clients to simulate root-soil interactions by using 3D models of root growth, structure and function. Our dedicated research team will provide you with real-time scientific guidance and technical support. If you are interested in our services, please feel free to contact us for more details.


  1. Dunbabin, V. M.; et al. Modelling root-soil interactions using three–dimensional models of root growth, architecture and function. Plant and Soil. 2013, 372(1): 93-124.
For research use only, not intended for any clinical use.
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CD BioSciences is a biotechnology company focused on biophysical services. We are proficient in both chemistry and biophysics, and have a comprehensive biophysical platform containing a wide range of advanced technologies.

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