Dynamics, thermodynamics and kinetics of exudates: crucial issues in understanding rhizosphere processes

Research paper by Roberto Terzano, Stefano Cesco, Tanja Mimmo

Indexed on: 19 Nov '14Published on: 19 Nov '14Published in: Plant and soil


In this issue, Schenkeveld and coworkers described the potential of phytosiderophores (a class of root exudates) to mobilize metals in the rhizosphere by an equilibrium modelling approach.The rhizosphere is a complex and dynamic environment where several different organic and inorganic compounds coexist. Due to the different concentration and chemical characteristics there might be competitive and synergistic interactions. However the rhizosphere is strongly influenced by root activity: water and nutrient uptake, root respiration that might modify the pH and redox status of the rhizosphere. Thus, how does the complexity of the system and the dynamics influence the thermodynamics of the single process? Can chemical equilibria be really reached in the rhizosphere? Issues related to kinetics vs thermodynamics are discussed. The study of the single processes is important but more complex researches, being thus more realistic (i.e. field-like conditions), are necessary. Hence, what are the available tools/methods in rhizosphere research? What are the drawbacks? How can the results of these methods be related to thermodynamic and kinetic models?Besides stimulating further awareness around the rhizosphere complexity, tentative answers are given highlighting the future challenges in rhizosphere research, essential knowledge for the development of agronomic practices ensuring a better exploitation of soil endogenous resources of nutrients by crops.