X-Ray Microscopy - Bringing Multiscale 3D Volume Imaging to Plant Biology

30 November 2023 · 31 min watch
  • X-Ray Microscopy
  • Life Sciences
Author Keith Duncan Research Scientist, Director X-ray Imaging Facility

X-Ray Microscopy - Bringing Multiscale 3D Volume Imaging to Plant Biology

Imaging in plant biology is a critical aspect of understanding growth and development, particularly for meristems and inflorescence structures. In addition, understanding the interaction of roots with soil is crucial, but it is difficult as these processes occur underground. Capturing detailed 3D image data of these delicate structures and complicated environments is difficult for conventional microscopy. X-ray microscopy (XRM) bridges this imaging gap by providing multiscale high-resolution 3D tomographic data where cell-level volumes can be situated within the context of the whole structure.

XRM is a powerful tool for visualizing root-soil-microbe interactions in situ without having to dig up the root system. Correlative imaging is also significantly enhanced by using XRM of whole resin-embedded plant samples as a road map for nanometer-scale volume electron microscopy, avoiding the uncertainty of sectioning blindly through a sample. Use of XRM in the multiscale and multimodal analysis of 3D plant features using economically and scientifically important plant systems will be presented.

Key Learnings:

  • X-ray microscopy is a valuable tool for plant science research to capture cellular level detail whilst retaining the context of the whole plant.
  • Deep learning approaches to reconstruction are providing new possibilities to see fine structures in plant specimens.
  • Using X-ray microscopy together with higher resolution technologies like electron microscopy is uncovering new insights in plant research.

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