Capture Internal Plant Structure without Sectioning
Cellular Level Insights with Full 3D Context
Understanding plant organ systems can provide insights into health parameters such as crop strength, longevity, cropping efficacy and size. Visualizing these components and how they develop, function and are influenced by external factors, helps to optimize plant health and yield. Non-destructive X-ray microscopy provides high resolution structural information from different plant components without needing to cut the specimens and remove the 3D context.1, 2
Image Courtesy of Dr. Keith Duncan, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, USA
Exploring Seed Development
High Resolution Insights without Compromising the Seed
The ZEISS Xradia range of X-ray instruments provides high contrast and resolution that enable the non-destructive capture of many different structures including roots, leaves, stems, inflorescence, and seeds. The two-stage magnification of ZEISS Xradia Versa X-ray microscope with multiple objective lenses provides cellular resolution in these plant specimens, whilst maintaining the full 3D context of that cellular detail.
Generate quantifiable data from 3D insights
Following high resolution acquisition, data can be segmented to enable quantification of the 3D data. Information such as number, size and distribution of starch granules can be performed from the high quality datasets using analysis packages such as Dragonfly Pro.
Multiscale Imaging of Delicate and Complex Floral Structures
Incredible insights into internal plant structures down to the cellular level can be generated with data collected with ZEISS Xradia Versa and processed with Dragonfly Pro image analysis software. This information is captured in the context of the whole plant as the specimen does not need to be cut down in size for image capture.
Multiscale Imaging of Roots Growing in Soil
The development of root structures and their interaction with soil are key determinants of overall plant health and proliferation. However, the location of roots below the surface of the soil can make it difficult to capture the process of root development or see the roots in situ. The non-destructive nature of X-ray imaging makes it a wonderful technology for visualizing roots and root networks whilst growing in the soil. High-resolution X-ray microscopy using ZEISS Xradia Versa enables visualization of root structure down to the cellular level but within the context of the rest of the root.
Investigating Ways to Reduce Soil Erosion
Non-destructive Assessment of Pennycress
Finding ways to reduce soil erosion and the run-off of fertilizer is important for maintaining soil quality and for optimizing crop yield at different locations. Pennycress is a species of plant that is being developed as a financially viable cover crop, planted between conventional commodity crops to reduce both erosion and fertilizer run-off, sequester carbon in the soil, and maintain favorable microbial populations in the soil. X-ray microscopy can be used to visualize the internal structures of pennycress without needing to physically section the plant.
Exploring Soil Aggregates
Capture the Structure of Soil Aggregates without Disturbance
In addition to soil erosion, the impact of different land management practices on soil and soil aggregates is another important question. Non-destructive imaging using X-rays can be used to explore structures, interfaces and changes in 3D for a volume of soil. Exploring how land management practices impact the arrangement of soil and resulting plant health at multiple length scales provides interesting insights that cannot otherwise be achieved. Studies comparing soil from different land management practices such as No Till versus Conventional Till can be performed.
Improving Signal to Noise and Throughput of 3D Acquisitions
Simultaneous Reduction of Noise and Acquisition Time with Deep Learning Reconstruction
Deep Learning reconstruction increases both the signal to noise ratio of the reconstructed datasets and the overall throughput of the imaging approach. ZEISS DeepRecon requires far fewer 2D projection images for the final reconstruction, thereby reducing acquisition times and improving the µCT throughput by up to 10 times.
This significant performance improvement is possible without the need for any additional X-ray beam-line hardware. For plant science specimens, the increase in throughput is beneficial for every acquisition, and the increase in signal-to-noise ratio is particularly useful when the resolution is being pushed and structures of interest are otherwise shrouded by noise.
Imaging in Action
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
K.E. Duncan et al. (2022), https://doi.org/10.1093/plphys/kiab405
K. Chen et al (2021), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plantsci.2021.110986