Nutrient uptake is critical for crop performance and sustainability, yet little is known about the physical mechanisms at the root-soil interface. The aim of this study was to close the knowledge gap between root and function with the development of a new modular platform for high-throughput phenotyping of multiple ion uptake kinetics, which aggregates phenes (units of phenotype) relating to ion transporter affinity, transporter number and other processes. Maize were first grown in common hydroponic chambers and then transferred to a custom individual measurement vessels controlled by 24-channel peristaltic pumps. Concentrations for multiple anions and cations were determined using ion chromatography and net influxes of nitrate, ammonium, phosphate, potassium and sulfate were calculated. These macronutrients are those most commonly applied as fertilizer and most likely to limit crop growth. Using this system it was found that genetic diversity exists amongst the 25 maize nested association mapping (NAM) founder lines for multiple ion specific uptake rates. Interestingly, specific nutrient uptake rates were found to be both heritable and distinct from total uptake and plant size. The specific uptake rates of each nutrient were also found to be positively correlated with one another and with specific root respiration indicating that uptake performance is governed by shared mechanisms. RNA-seq of NAM population founders that contrasted for multiple ion uptake rates is underway to understand the molecular basis for specific nutrient uptake performance and plasticity responses. In turn, this work will further our understanding of nutrient uptake, parameterize models such as OpenSimRoot test hypotheses related to uptake efficiency across soil types, and identify targets for facilitating breeding efforts for improved nutrient acquisition.