Interaction of gravitropism and phototropism in roots of Brassica oleracea

Luigi Gennaro Izzo*, Leone Ermes Romano, Lucius Wilhelminus Franciscus Muthert, Maurizio Iovane, Fiore Capozzi, Aránzazu Manzano, Malgorzata Ciska, Raúl Herranz, F. Javier Medina, John Z. Kiss, Jack J. W. A. van Loon, Giovanna Aronne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Gravitropism and phototropism play a primary role in orienting root growth. Tropistic responses of roots mediated by gravity and light have been extensively investigated, and a complex mutual interaction occurs between these two tropisms. To date, most studies have been conducted in 1 g, microgravity, or simulated microgravity, whereas no studies investigated root phototropism in hypergravity. Therefore, we studied the effects of several gravity treatments with those of different light wavelengths on root growth orientation. Here, we report growth and curvature of Brassica oleracea roots under different g levels, from simulated microgravity up to 20 g, and unilateral illumination with different spectral treatments provided by light emitting diodes. Microgravity was simulated with a random positioning machine whereas hypergravity conditions were obtained using the Large Diameter Centrifuge at the laboratories of the European Space Agency in the Netherlands. Four light treatments (white light, blue light, red light, and dark) were used in this study. Overall, roots of seedlings grown in the dark were longer than those developed under unilateral light treatments, regardless of the gravity level. Unilateral blue light or white light stimulated a negative phototropism of roots under all g levels, and root curvature was not affected by either hypergravity or simulated microgravity compared to 1 g. Results also confirmed previous findings on the effect of light intensity on root curvature and highlighted the relevance of blue-light photon flux density in root phototropism. Roots illuminated with red light showed a weak curvature in simulated microgravity but not in hypergravity. Moreover, root curvature under red light was similar to dark-grown roots in all g levels, suggesting a possible involvement of surface-dependent phenomena in root skewing under either red light or dark conditions. Further studies can confirm phototropic responses of B. oleracea in the weightless environment of orbiting spacecraft. Nevertheless, according to our findings, directional lighting represents an effective stimulus to guide root growth in a wide range of gravity conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104700
JournalEnvironmental and Experimental Botany
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

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