Submerged Roots Don’t Drown: Root Hybridization™

Posted by on Apr 11, 2017 in Uncategories | 0 comments

Octopot Grow Systems Trigger Changes in Root Architecture

Octopot Grow Systems stimulate a plants natural response to develop specialized root cells specifically adapted to their environment.  Like a tree growing next to a pond, plants in Octopots develop roots mass in both soil and in water by differentiating their root system architecture (RSA).  This process is unique to the Octopot Grow System.  It allows a plant to develop an RSA that draws in nutrients and moisture at the optimum rate for that specific plant species.  Plants in Octopot Grow Systems grow bigger, faster, and with less effort and inputs.  Root system architecture (RSA) and development has received an increased amount of attention due to advances in phenotyping capabilities and growing insight into the genetic control of root growth (Liu et al., 2005; Tuberosa and Salvi, 2006; de Dorlodot et al., 2007; Armengaud et al., 2009).

At first glance the Octopot Grow System seems destined to fail.  We have all stuck a potted plant into a bowl of water and let it sit soaking until the roots drowned, rotted and started stinking. Why would it be any different in the Octopot?  Two words: Root Hybridization™.   Octopot’s design is inspired by nature.  A plant’s growth response is regulated through a complex interaction between genetic responses and responses due to environmental stimuli.  These developmental stimuli are categorized as intrinsic, the genetic and nutritional influences, or extrinsic, the environmental influences.

Factors Affecting Plant Root Architecture

The extrinsic factors that affect root architecture include gravity, light exposure, water and oxygen, as well as the availability (or lack thereof) of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, aluminium and sodium chloride.  There is correlation of roots using the process of plant perception to sense their physical environment to grow.  Plant roots will generally grow in any direction where the correct environment of air, mineral nutrients and water exists to meet the plant’s needs.  Previous studies have shown that external factors can affect root morphology and architecture and that root systems have an innate ability to respond and adapt to their rooting environment (Malamy, 2005). Additionally, many reports indicate that certain root qualities in crop plants can help enhance productivity in resource-limited environments due to improved nutrient and water scavenging abilities (Liao et al., 2001; Zhu et al., 2005; Ribaut et al., 2009).

The Process of Root Hybridization in Octopot Grow Systems

The key to Octopot’s patented design is the proportion and placement of its components that drive the plant to naturally develop root system architecture (RSA) that is unique.  Roots naturally grow downward from the growing media in Octopot’s Gro Sleeve® into a water environment in its Hydro Reservoir.  The Hydro Wick® Platform both combines and separates the two substrates.  The reason plant roots grow into the water instead of drowning is their ability to change cellular structure in response to the environment.  Roots in the growing media (terrestrial roots) naturally grow down toward the moisture they sense below.  When roots enter the microclimate that is the interface between the soil and water environment, they sense the need to change. During this process there is a change in the internal cellular structures and root cortex.  Thus, a plant root that formed in the “soil” can now thrive submerged in water.

Octopot’s Inventor, Chris Jaworski Names the Process “Octopotification”

So what is the process called?  According to Anjali Iyer-Pascuzzi, Ph.D. from  the Departement of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University, “There is not, to my knowledge, a name for the change in the process as a root moves from terrestrial to hydroponic. There are changes to the internal cellular structures of the root and formation of a different cell type in the root cortex, but no nomenclature that describes this process that I’m aware of.”  A hybrid can be defined as a thing made by combining two different elements: a mixture.  It can also be defined as being composed of mixed parts.  The roots formed in an Octopot Grow System have terrestrial and hydroponic parts or components. They are a hybrid type of root created by a process where the root changes its structure from terrestrial to hydroponic; “Root Hybridization™”.   Further, the process of Root Hybridization™ that occurs in the Octopot Grow System is called “Octopotification™” – the process of root hybridization as it occurs in a commercial growing system or container.

Octopot Grow Systems Trigger Plant Response

Octopot's Moisture Gradient Triggers Root Hybridization

Octopot’s Moisture Gradient Triggers Plants to Seek Higher Moisture Levels. Root Hybridization Occurs Then Plant Root Architecture Changes to Adapt to Living in Water.

The orientation of the components in the Octopot Grow System is essential to its ability to create the correct environment of water and air for plant roots to grow in the soil profile and the Hydro Reservoir.  Octopot’s Gro Sleeve® is equal in volume to the Hydro Reservoir capacity however the two components are oriented differently.  The horizontal orientation of the Hydro Reservoir creates a large surface area of water for the oxygenation process.  The vertical orientation of the Gro Sleeve® regulates the percentage of moisture throughout the soil profile.

 

The entire bottom layer of the soil profile is not exposed to water like some self-watering containers.  Octopot’s precise ratio of water exposure to the soil creates the correct environment for effective capillary action in the soil profile contained by Octopot’s  Gro Sleeve®.  Specifically, the proportion of the top opening of the cup to the entire platform of the Hydro Wick Platform prevents the soil profile from becoming over saturated and suffocating plant roots near the bottom of the soil profile.  Besides protecting plant against loss from root rot, this process is also more successful at delivering water faster to the soil profile than fiber strips or ropes found in some self-watering containers that only deliver water to one location inside the soil profile.

 

In summary, Octopot Grow Systems harness the natural plant process of “Root Hybridization™.”  This process allows plants grown in Octopots to thrive with two distinct root systems growing in both water and soil.  Plants in Octopot Grow Systems grow bigger, faster, and with less effort and inputs.

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