1 Introduction</h5> The rhizosphere is best defined as the volume of soil around living roots, which is influenced by root activity ( Hiltner, 1904 ). This is a densely populated area in which plant roots must compete with the invading root systems of neighbouring plants for space, water and mineral nutrients, and with other soil-borne organisms, including bacteria, fungi and insects feeding on the abundant source of organic material ( Ryan and Delhaize, 2001; Bais et al., 2004a ).</P>The ability to secrete a wide range of compounds into the rhizosphere is one of the most remarkable metabolic features of plant roots, with around 5–21% of total photosynthetically fixed carbon being transferred into the rhizosphere through root exudates ( Whipps, 1990; Marschner, 1995; Nguyen, 2003; Derrien et al., 2004 ). The quantity and quality of root exudates depend on the plant species, the age of individual plants and external biotic and abiotic factors ( Jones et al., 2004 ).</P>Root exudates are often divided into two classes of compounds: i) low-molecular weight compounds such as amino acids, organic acids, sugars and other secondary metabolites, which account for much of the root exudate diversity, whereas ii) high-molecular weight exudates, such as
Soil Biology and Biochemistry – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2014
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