Plant growth depends on processes in the narrow zone of soil that is directly influenced by roots: the rhizosphere. This includes processes regulating the uptake of nutrients, toxins and contaminants, in which the root plays a very active role. In the last decade many new techniques have emerged for studying the rhizosphere at fine spatial and temporal resolutions, including non-invasive imaging techniques, and molecular biological and spectroscopic techniques for particular physical, chemical and biological processes. Our research aims to exploit results from such techniques using process-based mathematical models.

At a glance


  • Mechanisms and genetics of iron toxicity tolerance in African rice (BBSRC BB/R020388/1)
  • Metal contamination of rice supplies in Asia (BBSRC BB/ P02274X/1)
  • Long-lived Radionuclides in the Surface Environment (LO-RISE) (NERC NE/D012848/1)
  • Rice germplasm for high grain Zn content and tolerance of Zn deficient soils. (BBSRC BB/J011584/1). 
  • Modelling integrative behaviour of soil-plant systems: plant uptake of strongly-sorbed solutes (BBSRC BB/C518014/1). 


Boghi A., Roose T. & Kirk G.J.D. (2018) A model of uranium uptake by plant roots allowing for root-induced changes in the soil. Environ. Sci. Technol., doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06136.

Masum S.A., Kirk G.J.D., Daly K.R. & Roose T. (2016) The effect of non-uniform distribution of sorbing phases on solute transport in soil. Eur. J. Soil Sci., 67, 514–522. doi: 10.1111/ejss.12353.

Lloyd D., Ritz K., Paterson E. & Kirk G.J.D. (2016) Effects of soil type and composition of rhizodeposits on rhizosphere priming phenomena. Soil Biol. Biochem., 103, 512–521. doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2016.10.002.

Kirk G.J.D., Versteegen A., Ritz K. & Milodowski A.E. (2015) A simple reactive-transport model of calcite precipitation in soils and other porous media. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 153, 108–122. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2015.05.017

Ptashnyk M., Roose T., Jones D.L. & Kirk G.J.D. (2011) Enhanced zinc uptake by rice through phytosiderophore secretion: a modelling study. Plant Cell Environ. 34, 2038–2046.

Zygalakis K.C., Kirk G.J.D., Jones D.L., Wissuwa M. & Roose T. (2011) A dual porosity model of nutrient uptake by root hairs in soil. New Phytol. 192, 676–688.

Leitner D., Klepsch S., Ptashnyk M., Marchant A., Kirk G.J.D., Schnepf A. & Roose T. (2010) A dynamic model of nutrient uptake by root hairs. New Phytol. 185, 792–802.

Ptashnyk M., Roose T. & Kirk G.J.D. (2010) Diffusion of strongly-sorbed solutes in soil: a dual porosity model allowing for slow access to sorption sites and time-dependent sorption reactions. Eur. J. Soil Sci. 61, 108–119.

Oburger E., Kirk G.J.D., Wenzel W.W., Puschenreitera M. & Jones D.L. (2009) Interactive effects of organic acids in the rhizosphere. Soil Biol. Biochem. 41, 449–457.

Roose T. & Kirk G.J.D. (2009) The solution of convection-diffusion equations for solute transport to plant roots. Plant Soil 316, 257–264.