2007 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The long-term objectives of this project involve the application of electron microscopy for the observation of a wide range of sample materials of importance to research projects whose goals include the protection of plants, animals, and humans from various pathogens and parasites. The Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) Electron Microscopy Unit (EMU) serves research projects at BARC that require electron microscopy data, for achieving their specific research objectives. The EMU will use standard electron microscopy protocols as well as develop new techniques and methodologies as needed to meet the needs of its clientele. Over the next 5 years we will focus on the following objectives,.
1)design and develop new techniques, preparative methodologies, specimen holders, and equipment required for the identification, characterization, and classification of plant pathogens and other pests,.
2)develop new techniques and methodologies in electron microscopy, specific to individual research projects, for achieving previously unobtainable data and improvement of the quality of results, and.
3)develop digital imaging and provide computer assistance and graphics for use in publications and periodicals.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Sample materials including healthy and diseased plant materials, mites, insects, fungi, viral pathogens, nematode pests, animal and human parasites, non-biological materials, food products, snow and ice crystals and numerous other materials will be imaged at the BARC Electron Microscopy Unit (EMU) using a range of electron microscopy techniques and instrumentation. In some instances it is not possible to meet the specific and diverse specimen preparation needs of a range of plant, animal, microbe, and other research projects using standard approaches. In such cases, procedures, devices, and methods will be developed and/or adapted in consultation with individual researchers to produce optimal results. The EMU has computer equipment, servers, data storage devices, DVD, CD and slide writers, scanners and printers and associated software for the production of quality photographs and publication ready documents and files. Utilizing this equipment and the IT skills available in the EMU, unique applications of computer technology will be used for colorization of black and white electron microscope images of mites and other biological tissues with true colors as seen using light microscopy. Training will also be provided to staff of collaborating scientists to assist in creating and enhancing images.
More than 400 scientists are working on research projects at BARC and many of them have an occasional or frequent need to visualize materials using electron microscopy skills and hardware provided by the BARC Electron Microscopy Unit (EMU). The goals of these various projects are wide ranging including the protection of plants and animals from various pathogens; taxonomic characterization of microbes, insects and mites; structural definition of food products and byproducts; the determination of the water content of winter snowpacks; the characterization of microbe behavior through freeze immobilization; the description of olfactory sensoria, the localization of water, heavy metal and other compounds in cells, and the characterization of healthy and infected plant and animal tissues. The techniques required to prepare and visualize this diversity of experimental materials are time consuming, tedious and require significant experience and skill to accomplish reliably. In addition, there is a continuous need for the development of new techniques and the modification of existing techniques for the preparation of an ever-changing spectrum of sample materials. Furthermore, new or modified approaches for imaging sample materials via electron microscopy are constantly required as new research problems arise. Currently, the BARC EMU has ongoing collaborations with over 30 laboratories at BARC and also assists local universities and other federal facilities in solving special problems in electron microscopy.
5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
|Number of web sites managed||2|
|Number of non-peer reviewed presentations and proceedings||8|
|Number of newspaper articles and other presentations for non-science audiences||4|
Foster, J., Kelly, R., Rango, A., Armstrong, R., Erbe, E.F., Pooley, C.D., Wergin, W.P. 2006. Use of low-temperature scanning electron microscopy to compare and characterize three classes of snow cover. Scanning. 28:191-203.