CSA-20306 Soil-Plant Relations


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical extensively supervised17
Practical intensively supervised20
Project learning7
Course coordinator(s)ing. H Drenth
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. E Hoffland
dr. ir. TJ Stomph
dr. DH Keuskamp
Examiner(s)dr. ir. TJ Stomph

Language of instruction:



Plant roots absorb water and nutrients from the root medium. The bio-availability of these growth factors is determined by a variety of biological, physical and chemical processes and properties. The plant itself affects these processes and soil properties in its rhizosphere. The interactions between the plant and its root environment represent the core of theory and practicals. Basic soil science is taught to be able to understand soil-plant interactions. In addition, practical consequences for maintenance of soil fertility are addressed.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of this course the student is expected to be able to:
- define and characterize the three phase soil system, the properties of the soil constituents and the role of soil life;
- explain the processes and factors determining bioavailability of nutrients in the soil, processes and factors determining uptake of water and nutrients and of losses of nutrients from the soil;
- understand root growth, root distribution and root functioning in relation to abiotic factors in the biosphere;
- use a model predicting nitrogen mineralization;
- explain the basic principles of the ecology of the rhizosphere;
- compose and evaluate nutrient balances and evaluate the principles of the current nutrient policy;
- execute some basic lab methods frequently used in soil-plant interactions research.


- attending lectures;
- participation in practical's and tutorials;
- preparing written reports on practical's and tutorials, poster presentation.


Written exam and assessment of the written and oral reports on practical's.


A syllabus can be purchased at the WUR-shop.

Compulsory for: BPWPlant SciencesBScB: Plant Production and Ecology3WD
Restricted Optional for: MCLClimate StudiesMSc3WD
Compulsory for: WUEAHBSc Minor Earth and Health3WD