Role of rhizosphere oxygen to plant growth and development

Low oxygen concentration in the root zone is a growth limiting factor as oxygen is needed in initiation of several vital physiological processes of plants. Amount of oxygen in the growth medium also determines the root orientation and the metabolic state of the root. With insufficient amount of oxygen, plants can decrease their water consumption, slow down growth, decrease yield, and wilt. Oxygen deficiency around the roots have been attributed to be the cause of damage and death of flooded or overwatered plants.

Oxygen is needed in different metabolic processes which have immediate effect on root and shoot growth and the development of the whole plant. Yet, it is not only the plant whose healthy growth depends on the sufficient amount of oxygen. Micro-organisms compete with the plant roots for the available O2 around them.

To reach the full growth potential of plants, it is necessary to fulfil the oxygen needs of both plants and the rhizosphere microbes. Low oxygen content favours growth of harmful ground microbes and drives plants to utilise anaerobic respiration process that releases ethanol. Ethanol again predisposes plants to infection and summon harmful microbes.

Text above is an overview of the article “Oxygen in the root zone and its effect on plants” by Mario de Jesús Moreno Roblero, Joel Pineda Pineda, Ma.Teresa Colinas León, and Jaime Sahagún Castellanos, URL: