Plant Science


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 506 Views Feb 5, 2024

Seeds ensure the growth of a new generation of plants and are thus central to maintaining plant populations and ecosystem processes. Nevertheless, much remains to be learned about seed biology and responses of germinated seedlings to environmental challenges. Experiments aiming to close these knowledge gaps critically depend on the availability of healthy, viable seeds. Here, we report a protocol for the collection of seeds from plants in the genus Populus. This genus comprises trees with a wide distribution in temperate forests and with economic relevance, used as scientific models for perennial plants. As seed characteristics can vary drastically between taxonomic groups, protocols need to be tailored carefully. Our protocol takes the delicate nature of Populus seeds into account. It uses P. deltoides as an example and provides a template to optimize bulk seed extraction for other Populus species and plants with similar seed characteristics. The protocol is designed to only use items available in most labs and households and that can be sterilized easily. The unique characteristics of this protocol allow for the fast and effective extraction of high-quality seeds. Here, we report on seed collection, extraction, cleaning, storage, and viability tests. Moreover, extracted seeds are well suited for tissue culture and experiments under sterile conditions. Seed material obtained with this protocol can be used to further our understanding of tree seed biology, seedling performance under climate change, or diversity of forest genetic resources.

Key features

Populus species produce seeds that are small, delicate, non-dormant, with plenty of seed hair. Collection of seed material needs to be timed properly.

• Processing, seed extraction, seed cleaning, and storage using simple, sterilizable laboratory and household items only. Obtained seeds are pure, high quality, close to 100% viability.

• Seeds work well in tissue culture and in experiments under sterile conditions.

• Extractability, speed, and seed germination were studied and confirmed for Populus deltoides as an example.

• Can also serve as template for bulk seed collection from other Populus species and plant groups that produce delicate seeds (with no or little modifications).

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 778 Views Oct 5, 2023

Understanding silique and seed morphology is essential to developmental biology. Arabidopsis thaliana is one of the best-studied plant models for understanding the genetic determinants of seed count and size. However, the small size of its seeds, and their encasement in a pod known as silique, makes investigating their numbers and morphology both time consuming and tedious. Researchers often report bulk seed weights as an indicator of average seed size, but this overlooks individual seed details. Removal of the seeds and subsequent image analysis is possible, but automated counts are often impossible due to seed pigmentation and shadowing. Traditional ways of analyzing seed count and size, without their removal from the silique, involve lengthy histological processing (24–48 h) and the use of toxic organic solvents. We developed a method that is non-invasive, requires minimal sample processing, and obtains data in a short period of time (1–2 h). This method uses a custom X-ray imaging system to visualize Arabidopsis siliques at different stages of their growth. We show that this process can be successfully used to analyze the overall topology of Arabidopsis siliques and seed size and count. This new method can be easily adapted for other plant models.

Key features

• No requirement for organic solvents for imaging siliques.

• Easy image capture and rapid turnaround time for obtaining data.

• Protocol may be easily adapted for other plant models.

Graphical overview

Arabidopsis siliques using the Inspex 20i X-ray machine

0 Q&A 2870 Views Dec 20, 2021

Roots are the prime organ for nutrient and water uptake and are therefore fundamental to the growth and development of plants. However, physical challenges of a heterogeneous environment and diverse edaphic stresses affect root growth in soil. Compacted soil is a serious global problem, causing inhibition of root elongation, which reduces surface area and impacts resource foraging. Visualisation and quantification of roots in soil is difficult due to this growth substrate’s opaque nature; however, non-destructive imaging technologies are now becoming more widely available to plant and soil scientists working to address this challenge. We have recently developed an integrated approach, combining X-ray Computed Tomography (X-ray CT) and confocal microscopy to image roots grown in compacted soil conditions from a plant to a cellular scale. The method is suited to visualize cellular responses of root tips grown in both non-compacted and compacted soils. This protocol presents a fully integrated workflow, including soil column preparation, creation of compaction conditions, plant growth, imaging, and quantification of root adaptive responses at a cellular scale.

0 Q&A 3896 Views Mar 5, 2021

Targeted metabolomics is a useful approach to evaluate crop breeding studies. Antioxidant and flavor-related traits are of increasing interest and are considered quality traits in tomato breeding. The present study presents chromatographic methods to study antioxidants (carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, phenolic compounds, and glutathione) and flavor-related characters (sugars and organic acids) in tomato. Two different extraction methods (for polar and apolar entities) were applied to isolate the targeted compounds. The extraction methods developed in this work were time and cost-effective since no further purification was needed. Carotenoids, vitamin C, glutathione, and phenolic acids were analyzed by HPLC-PDA using a RP C18 column at an appropriate wavelength for each compound. Vitamin E and sugars were analyzed by HPLC with RP C18 and NH2 columns and detected by FLD and RI detectors, respectively. In addition, organic acids were analyzed with GC-FID using a Rtx 5DA column after derivatization with MSTFA. As a result, sensitive analytical methods to quantify important plant metabolites were developed and are described herein. These methods are not only applicable in tomato but are also useful to characterize other species for flavor-related and antioxidant compounds. Thus, these protocols can be used to guide selection in crop breeding.

0 Q&A 3204 Views Jul 20, 2020
Polyethylene glycol calcium (PEG-Ca2+)-mediated transfection allows rapid and efficient examination to analyze diverse cellular functions of genes of interest. In plant cells, macromolecules, such as DNA, RNA and protein, are delivered into protoplasts derived from somatic tissues or calli via PEG-Ca2+ transfection. To broaden and develop the scope of investigations using plant gametes and zygotes, a procedure for direct delivery of macromolecules into these cells has recently been established using PEG-Ca2+ transfection. This PEG-Ca2+-mediated delivery into rice egg cells/zygotes consists of four microtechniques, (i) isolation of gametes, (ii) production of zygotes by electrofusion of gametes, (iii) PEG-Ca2+-mediated delivery of macromolecules into isolated egg cells or produced zygotes, and (iv) culture and subsequent analyses of the transfected egg cells/zygotes. Because the full protocol for microtechniques (i) and (ii) have already been reported in Toda et al., 2016, microtechniques (iii) and (iv) are mainly described in this protocol.

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