Identification of deep-rooted maize with X-ray fluorescence


Jonathan Lynch, Penn State University


Molly Hanlon, Penn State University


LEADER (leaf elemental accumulation for deep roots) uses handheld X-Ray fluorescence technology to identify deep rooted cultivars in the field in less than two minutes by using soil elemental gradients to determine root depth.

Leader field figure

Protocols and methodology for LEADER will be published and publicly available. The concept should work to assay root depth for all crops. We are working closely with Bruker, the manufacturer of X-Ray flourescence equipment, to develop LEADER.

Leader leaf scans

XRF scans of maize root showing (left to right) Si, K and Ca distribution