Rice root morphological and physiological traits interaction with rhizosphere soil and its effect on methane emissions in paddy fields

Yun Chen, Siyu Li, Yajun Zhang, Tingting Li, Huimin Ge, Shiming Xia, Junfei Gu, Hao Zhang, Bing Lü, Xiaoxia Wu, Zhiqin Wang, Jianchang Yang, Jianhua ZHANG, Lijun Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Rice (Oryza sativa L.) paddies contribute approximately 7–17% to total global methane (CH 4 ) emissions and are considered an important source of human-induced climate change. However, the interactive effects of rice roots and soil microbes on CH 4 emissions in paddy fields are not clearly understood. We conducted two field experiments over three years. Soil CH 4 fluxes and cumulative CH 4 emissions, rice root traits, and microbial communities and activities in soil were measured using three mid-season japonica rice cultivars (Wuyujing 3, Zhendao 88, and Huaidao 5) that have the same growth durations and similar aboveground traits before heading. The CH 4 emissions during the mid-growing period (from panicle initiation to heading) contributed 39.0–49.7% of the total emissions during the entire growing season and differed significantly among the rice cultivars. The root morphological and physiological traits (i.e. root dry weight, root length, root oxidation activity, and root radial oxygen loss) were negatively correlated with CH 4 fluxes. Compared to the zero-N control, application rates of N fertilizer at 54 and 108 kg ha −1 increased root biomass of cultivar Zhendao 88 by 10.1% and 17.3%, respectively, leading to corresponding decreases in CH 4 emissions by 12.7% and 22.9%. The root exudates (malic acid, succinic acid, and citric acid) promoted the abundance and activity of methanotrophs, which was the primary factors underlying the low CH 4 emissions in the paddy fields. Our findings suggested that stronger root systems, higher oxygen delivered by roots available for methanotrophs and suitable root exudates interacted in the rhizosphere, established a favourable habitat for microbial populations, and reduced CH 4 emissions in paddy fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-200
Number of pages10
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Microbiology
  • Soil Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Methane emission
  • Methanogen and methanotroph
  • Rhizosphere soil
  • Rice
  • Root exudate
  • Root traits


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