3D-analysis of plant microstructures: advantages and limitations of synchrotron X-ray microtomography

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Synchrotron X-ray computer microtomography was used to analyze the microstructure of rose peduncles. Samples from three rose cultivars, differing in anatomy, were scanned to study the relation between tissue structure and peduncles mechanical strength. Additionally, chlorophyll fluorescence imaging and conventional light microscopy was applied to quantify possible irradiation-induced damage to plant physiology and tissue structure. The spatial resolution of synchrotron X-ray computer microtomography was sufficiently high to investigate the complex tissues of intact rose peduncles without the necessity of any preparation. However, synchrotron X-radiation induces two different types of damage on irradiated tissues. First, within a few hours after first X-ray exposure, there is a direct physical destruction of cell walls. In addition, a slow and delayed destruction of chlorophyll and, consequently, of photosynthetic activity occurred within hours/ days after the exposure. The results indicate that synchrotron X-ray computer microtomography is well suited for three-dimensional visualization of the microstructure of rose peduncles. However, in its current technique, synchrotron X-ray computer microtomography is not really non-destructive but induce tissue damage. Hence, this technique needs further optimization before it can be applied for time-series investigations of living plant materials

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