Sustainable Cropping Requires Adaptation to a Heterogeneous Rhizosphere.

Root-soil interactions in the rhizosphere are central to resource acquisition and crop production in agricultural systems. However, apart from studies in idealized experimental systems, rhizosphere processes in real agricultural soils in situ are largely uncharacterized. This limits the contribution of rhizosphere science to agriculture and the ongoing Green Revolution. Here, we argue that understanding plant responses to soil heterogeneity is key to understanding rhizosphere processes. We highlight rhizosphere sensing and root-induced soil modification in the context of heterogeneous soil structure, resource distribution, and root-soil interactions. A deeper understanding of the integrated and dynamic root-soil interactions in the heterogeneously structured rhizosphere could increase crop production and resource use efficiency towards sustainable agriculture.