Studying root-environment interactions in structured microdevices

Christian Frederic Kaiser, Alessia Perilli, Guido Grossmann*, Yasmine Meroz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


When interacting with the environment, plant roots integrate sensory information over space and time in order to respond appropriately under non-uniform conditions. The complexity and dynamic properties of soil across spatial and temporal scales pose a significant technical challenge for research into the mechanisms that drive metabolism, growth, and development in roots, as well as on inter-organismal networks in the rhizosphere. Synthetic environments, combining microscopic access and manipulation capabilities with soil-like heterogeneity, are needed to elucidate the intriguing antagonism that characterizes subsurface ecosystems. Microdevices have provided opportunities for innovative approaches to observe, analyse, and manipulate plant roots and advanced our understanding of their development, physiology, and interactions with the environment. Initially conceived as perfusion platforms for root cultivation under hydroponic conditions, microdevice design has, in recent years, increasingly shifted to better reflect the complex growth conditions in soil. Heterogeneous micro-environments have been created through co-cultivation with microbes, laminar flow-based local stimulation, and physical obstacles and constraints. As such, structured microdevices provide an experimental entry point into the complex network behaviour of soil communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3851-3863
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number13
StatePublished - 18 Jul 2023


FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme824074
Human Frontier Science ProgramRGY0078/2019
Deutsche ForschungsgemeinschaftGR4559/5-1, GR4559/4-1, EXC-2048/1—project ID 390686111, CRC1208
Israel Science Foundation1981/ 14
Tel Aviv University


    • 3D printing
    • Biosensors
    • complex conditions
    • lab-on-a-chip
    • live imaging
    • microfluidics
    • root-microbe interactions
    • synthetic environments


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