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Biomechanical Response of the Root System in Tomato Seedlings under Wind Disturbance

Zhengguang Liu1, Jun Yang1, Tobi Fadiji2, Zhiguo Li1,*, Jiheng Ni3

1 College of Mechanical and Electronic Engineering, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, 712100, China
2 Postharvest Research Laboratory, Department of Botany and Plant Biotechnology, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, 2006, South Africa
3 Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, 212002, China

* Corresponding Author: Zhiguo Li. Email: email

(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Textural Mechanics and Damage of Fresh Fruits)

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2023, 92(4), 1071-1090.


Wind disturbance as a green method can effectively prevent the overgrowth of tomato seedlings, and its mechanism may be related to root system mechanics. This study characterized the biophysical mechanical properties of taproot and lateral roots of tomato seedlings at five seedling ages and seedling substrates with three different moisture content. The corresponding root system-substrate finite element (FE) model was then developed and validated. The study showed that seedling age significantly affected the biomechanical properties of the taproot and lateral roots of the seedlings and that moisture content significantly affected the biomechanical properties of the seedling substrate (p < 0.05). The established FE model was sensitive to wind speed, substrate moisture content, strong seedling index, and seedling age and was robust. The multiple linear regression equations obtained could predict the maximum stress and strain of the root system of tomato seedlings in the wind field. The strong seedling index had the greatest impact on the biomechanical response of the seedling root system during wind disturbance, followed by wind speed. In contrast, seedling age had no significant effect on the biomechanical response of the root system during wind disturbance. In the simulation, no mechanical damage was observed on the tissue of the seedling root system, but there were some strain behaviors. Based on the plant stress resistance, wind disturbance may affect the growth and development of the root system in the later growth stage. In this study, finite element and statistical analysis methods were combined to provide an effective approach for in-depth analysis of the biomechanical mechanisms of wind disturbances that inhibit tomato seedlings’ growth from the root system’s perspective.


Cite This Article

Liu, Z., Yang, J., Fadiji, T., Li, Z., Ni, J. (2023). Biomechanical Response of the Root System in Tomato Seedlings under Wind Disturbance. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 92(4), 1071–1090.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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