Plant Science


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 437 Views Aug 5, 2023

Due to technical limitations, research to date has mainly focused on the role of abiotic and biotic stress–signalling molecules in the aerial organs of plants, including the whole shoot, stem, and leaves. Novel experimental platforms including the dual-flow-RootChip (dfRC), PlantChip, and RootArray have since expanded this to plant-root cell analysis. Based on microfluidic platforms for flow stream shaping and force sensing on tip-growing organisms, the dfRC has further been expanded into a bi-directional dual‐flow‐RootChip (bi-dfRC), incorporating a second adjacent pair of inlets/outlet, enabling bi-directional asymmetric perfusion of treatments towards plant roots (shoot-to-root or root-to-shoot). This protocol outlines, in detail, the design and use of the bi-dfRC platform. Plant culture on chip is combined with guided root growth and controlled exposure of the primary root to solute changes. The impact of surface treatment on root growth and defence signals can be tracked in response to abiotic and biotic stress or the combinatory effect of both. In particular, this protocol highlights the ability of the platform to culture a variety of plants, such as Arabidopsis thaliana, Nicotiana benthamiana, and Solanum lycopersicum, on chip. It demonstrates that by simply altering the dimensions of the bi-dfRC, a broad application basis to study desired plant species with varying primary root sizes under microfluidics is achieved.

Key features

• Expansion of the method developed by Stanley et al. (2018a) to study the directionality of defence signals responding to localised treatments.

Description of a microfluidic platform allowing culture of plants with primary roots up to 40 mm length, 550 μm width, and 500 μm height.

Treatment with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) to permanently retain the hydrophilicity of partially hydrophobic bi-dfRC microchannels, enabling use with surface-sensitive plant lines.

• Description of novel tubing array setup equipped with rotatable valves for switching treatment reagent and orientation, while live-imaging on the bi-dfRC.

Graphical overview

Graphical overview of bi-dfRC fabrication, plantlet culture, and setup for root physiological analysis. (a) Schematic diagram depicting photolithography and replica molding, to produce a PDMS device. (b) Schematic diagram depicting seed culture off chip, followed by sub-culture of 4-day-old plantlets on chip. (c) Schematic diagram depicting microscopy and imaging setup, equipped with a media delivery system for asymmetric treatment introduction into the bi-dfRC microchannel root physiological analysis under varying conditions.

0 Q&A 516 Views Mar 20, 2023

Ethylene is an important plant hormone that is involved in the regulation of numerous processes in plant development. It also acts as a signaling molecule in response to biotic and abiotic stress conditions. Most studies have investigated ethylene evolution of harvested fruit or small herbaceous plants under controlled conditions, but only a few explored ethylene release in other plant tissues, such as leaves and buds, particularly those of subtropical crops. However, in light of increasing environmental challenges in agriculture (such as temperature extremes, droughts, floods, and high solar radiation), studies on these challenges and on potential chemical treatments for mitigating their effects on plant physiology have become more and more important. Thus, adequate techniques for the sampling and analysis of tree crops are needed to ensure accurate ethylene quantification. As part of a study on ethephon as a mitigating agent to improve litchi flowering under warm winter conditions, a protocol was developed for ethylene quantification in leaf and bud tissue of litchi following ethephon application, taking into account that these plant organs release lower ethylene concentrations than fruit. At sampling, leaves and buds were placed in glass vials of appropriate sizes for the respective plant tissue volumes and allowed to equilibrate for 10 min to release possible wound ethylene before incubating the samples for 3 h at ambient temperature. Thereafter, ethylene samples were aspirated from the vials and analyzed using a gas chromatograph with flame ionization detection, the TG-BOND Q+ column for separation of ethylene, and helium as the carrier gas. Quantification was achieved based on a standard curve derived from an external standard gas calibration with certified ethylene gas. This protocol will also be appropriate for other tree crops with similar plant materials as study foci. It will enable researchers to accurately determine ethylene production in various studies investigating the role of ethylene in general plant physiology or stress-induced plant responses following a range of treatment conditions.

0 Q&A 2784 Views Jan 20, 2021

Researchers face a number of challenges in the construction of soil columns which can affect the outcome of their experiments. The use of intact soil cores closely mimics actual field conditions. However, the excavation of large intact soil cores is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process and may lead to soil compaction that would influence the solute transport behavior of the soil column. Repacked soil columns are used as an option to circumvent these challenges of intact soil cores. However, repacked soil columns also have their limitations and introduce other challenges. Here, we present a step by step procedure for the design of repacked soil columns to achieve a realistic bulk density, prevent preferential flow paths, and ensure hydraulic connectivity between soil layers. This protocol will be beneficial to Soil Scientists, Hydrologists and other Environmental Scientists utilizing repacked soil columns.

0 Q&A 3430 Views Mar 20, 2020
Field studies that simulate the effects of climate change are important for a predictive understanding of ecosystem responses to a changing environment. Among many concerns, regional warming can result in advanced timing of spring snowmelt in snowpack dependent ecosystems, which could lead to longer snow-free periods and drier summer soils. Past studies investigating these impacts of climate change have manipulated snowmelt with a variety of techniques that include manual snowpack alteration with a shovel, infrared radiation, black sand and fabric covers. Within these studies however, sufficient documentation of methods is limited, which can make experimental reproduction difficult. Here, we outline a detailed plot-scale protocol that utilizes a permeable black geotextile fabric deployed on top of an isothermal spring snowpack to induce advanced snowmelt. The method offers a reliable and cost-effective approach to induce snowmelt by passively increasing solar radiation absorption at the snow surface. In addition, control configurations with no snowpack manipulation are paired adjacent to the induced snowmelt plot for experimental comparison. Past and ongoing deployments in Colorado subalpine ecosystems indicate that this approach can accelerate snowmelt by 14-23 days, effectively mimicking snowmelt timing at lower elevations. This protocol can be applied to a variety of studies to understand the hydrological, ecological, and geochemical impacts of regional warming in snowpack dependent ecosystems.
0 Q&A 4425 Views Mar 20, 2020
Acclimation of leaf traits to fluctuating environments is a key mechanism to maximize fitness. One of the most important strategies in acclimation to changing light is to maintain efficient utilization of nitrogen in the photosynthetic apparatus by continuous modifications of between-leaf distribution along the canopy depth and within-leaf partitioning between photosynthetic functions according to local light availability. Between-leaf nitrogen distribution has been intensively studied over the last three decades, where proportional coordination between nitrogen concentration and light gradient was considered optimal in terms of maximizing canopy photosynthesis, without taking other canopy structural and physiological factors into account. We proposed a mechanistic model of protein turnover dynamics in different photosynthetic functions, which can be parameterized using leaves grown under different levels of constant light. By integrating this dynamic model into a multi-layer canopy model, constructed using data collected from a greenhouse experiment, it allowed us to test in silico the degree of optimality in photosynthetic nitrogen use for maximizing canopy carbon assimilation under given light environments.
0 Q&A 3966 Views Oct 20, 2019
The plant cell wall is a complicated network that is mainly constituted of polysaccharides, such as cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin. Many noncellulosic polysaccharides are further acetylated, which confers these polymers flexible physicochemical properties. Due to the significance of cell wall in plant growth and development, the analytic platform has been the focus for a long time. Here, we use internodes/culms, an important organ to provide mechanical support for rice plants, as an experimental sample to explore the method for cell wall composition analysis. The method includes preparation of cell wall residues, sequential extraction of polysaccharides, and measurement of cellulose. The procedure for acetate examination is also described. This method is applicable to determine the composition of individual cell wall polymers and the modifier acetates, and is suitable to identify cell wall relevant mutants based on the advantages in high throughput, precision and repeatability.
0 Q&A 6327 Views Feb 20, 2019
Biogenic volatile compounds (VCs) mediate various types of crucial intra- and inter-species interactions in plants, animals, and microorganisms owing to their ability to travel through air, liquid, and porous soils. To study how VCs produced by Verticillium dahliae, a soilborne fungal pathogen, affect plant growth and development, we slightly modified a method previously used to study the effect of bacterial VCs on plant growth. The method involves culturing microbial cells and plants in I plate to allow only VC-mediated interaction. The modified protocol is simple to set up and produces reproducible results, facilitating studies on this poorly explored form of plant-fungal interactions. We also optimized conditions for extracting and identifying fungal VCs using solid phase microextraction (SPME) coupled to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
0 Q&A 8942 Views Feb 20, 2018
High-throughput phenotyping of plant traits is a powerful tool to further our understanding of plant growth and its underlying physiological, molecular, and genetic determinisms. This protocol describes the methodology of a standard phenotyping experiment in PHENOPSIS automated platform, which was engineered in INRA-LEPSE ( and custom-made by Optimalog company. The seminal method was published by Granier et al. (2006). The platform is used to explore and test various ecophysiological hypotheses (Tisné et al., 2010; Baerenfaller et al., 2012; Vile et al., 2012; Bac-Molenaar et al., 2015; Rymaszewski et al., 2017). Here, the focus concerns the preparation and management of experiments, as well as measurements of growth-related traits (e.g., projected rosette area, total leaf area and growth rate), water status-related traits (e.g., leaf dry matter content and relative water content), and plant architecture-related traits (e.g., stomatal density and index and lamina/petiole ratio). Briefly, a completely randomized (block) design is set up in the growth chamber. Next, the substrate is prepared, its initial water content is measured and pots are filled. Seeds are sown onto the soil surface and germinated prior to the experiment. After germination, soil watering and image (visible, infra-red, fluorescence) acquisition are planned by the user and performed by the automaton. Destructive measurements may be performed during the experiment. Data extraction from images and estimation of growth-related trait values involves semi-automated procedures and statistical processing.
0 Q&A 8163 Views Feb 20, 2018
We have proposed and tested a method for characterization of the signal sequences and determinations of target protein localization in a plant cell. This method, called the AgI-PrI, implies extraction of protoplasts from plant tissues after agroinfiltration. The suggested approach combines the advantages of two widely used methods for transient gene expression in plants–agroinfiltration and transfection of isolated protoplasts. The AgI-PrI technic can be applied to other plant species.
0 Q&A 8577 Views Jan 5, 2018
The rapid auxin-triggered growth of the Arabidopsis hypocotyls involves the nuclear TIR1/AFB-Aux/IAA signaling and is accompanied by acidification of the apoplast and cell walls (Fendrych et al., 2016). Here, we describe in detail the method for analysis of the elongation and the TIR1/AFB-Aux/IAA-dependent auxin response in hypocotyl segments as well as the determination of relative values of the cell wall pH.

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