2021 Volume 71 Issue 1 Pages 40-50
Internal aeration is crucial for root growth under waterlogged conditions. Many wetland plants have a structural barrier that impedes oxygen leakage from the basal part of roots called a radial oxygen loss (ROL) barrier. ROL barriers reduce the loss of oxygen transported via the aerenchyma to the root tips, enabling long-distance oxygen transport for cell respiration at the root tip. Because the root tip does not have an ROL barrier, some of the transferred oxygen is released into the waterlogged soil, where it oxidizes and detoxifies toxic substances (e.g., sulfate and Fe2+) around the root tip. ROL barriers are located at the outer part of roots (OPRs). Their main component is thought to be suberin. Suberin deposits may block the entry of potentially toxic compounds in highly reduced soils. The amount of ROL from the roots depends on the strength of the ROL barrier, the length of the roots, and environmental conditions, which causes spatiotemporal changes in the root system’s oxidization pattern. We summarize recent achievements in understanding how ROL barrier formation is regulated and discuss opportunities for breeding waterlogging-tolerant crops.