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Examining root exudates

Updated: Apr 19, 2019

Learning from Lindsay...


Root exudate is believed to be a significant player in below-ground system dynamics as it is comprised of thousands of chemical signals that attract beneficial microorganisms, fights off pests and pathogens, acts as a antimicrobial, and disperses allelopathic chemicals. These chemical signals are thus creating a dynamic community of microorganisms that enrich the soil with bioavailable nutrients and help cycle key elements from the soil to plants and vice versa.

Lindsay (Clemson graduate student) shows Kendall (Clemson undergraduate student) how to collect and store root exudate from sorghum.


The majority of root exudate composition is comprised of carbon- based substrates. Therefore, uncovering the underlying genes responsible for carbon allocation for this process could be useful in crop improvement for sustainable agricultural systems. To achieve this, our current focus is establishing a rigorous and replicable phenotyping protocol for root exudates that can be used to identify candidate genes.

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