Interactive effects of soil temperature and moisture on Concord grape root respiration

J Exp Bot. 2005 Oct;56(420):2651-60. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eri258. Epub 2005 Sep 5.


Root respiration has important implications for understanding plant growth as well as terrestrial carbon flux with a changing climate. Although soil temperature and soil moisture often interact, rarely have these interactions on root respiration been studied. This report is on the individual and combined effects of soil moisture and temperature on respiratory responses of single branch roots of 1-year-old Concord grape (Vitis labruscana Bailey) vines grown in a greenhouse. Under moist soil conditions, root respiration increased exponentially to short-term (1 h) increases in temperature between 10 degrees C and 33 degrees C. Negligible increases in root respiration occurred between 33 degrees C and 38 degrees C. By contrast to a slowly decreasing Q10 from short-term temperature increases, when roots were exposed to constant temperatures for 3 d, the respiratory Q10 between 10 degrees C and 30 degrees C diminished steeply with an increase in temperature. Above 30 degrees C, respiration declined with an increase in temperature. Membrane leakage was 89-98% higher and nitrogen concentration was about 18% lower for roots exposed to 35 degrees C for 3 d than for those exposed to 25 degrees C and 15 degrees C. There was a strong interaction of respiration with a combination of elevated temperature and soil drying. At low soil temperatures (10 degrees C), respiration was little influenced by soil drying, while at moderate to high temperatures (20 degrees C and 30 degrees C), respiration exhibited rapid declines with decreases in soil moisture. Roots exposed to drying soil also exhibited increased membrane leakage and reduced N. These findings of acclimation of root respiration are important to modelling respiration under different moisture and temperature regimes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Respiration*
  • Electrolytes / metabolism
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Plant Roots / cytology
  • Plant Roots / metabolism*
  • Soil / analysis*
  • Temperature*
  • Time Factors
  • Vitis / cytology
  • Vitis / metabolism*
  • Water / analysis*


  • Electrolytes
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Nitrogen