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Title: What HR-CT imaging can teach us about xylem structure and function

item SHACKEL, KEN - University Of California
item BRODERSEN, CRAIG - University Of Florida
item LEE, ERIC - University Of California
item McElrone, Andrew
item CHOAT, BRENDAN - Western Sydney University
item PHILLIPS, RON - University Of California
item JANSEN, STEVEN - University Of Louisiana At Monroe
item MATTHEWS, MARK - University Of California

Submitted to: International Conference on Plant Nutrition
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/30/2012
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: It is well established that plant xylem is composed of a complex and interconnected system of vascular elements, but little is known about how the three-dimensional (3D) organization of this network influences properties such as plant hydraulics (Tyree & Zimmermann, 2002), and few studies have measured the spatial distribution, orientation, or frequency of connections between the vascular elements. High-resolution X-ray computed tomography (HRCT) is a diagnostic imaging technique with a micrometer-range resolution that provides continuous serial sections through plant tissue in any orientation. HRCT imaging is based on the same principles as medical CT systems, but a high intensity, focused X-ray source results in decreased section thickness and image acquisition time. Both two-dimensional (2D) and 3D HRCT have been employed in the cursory analysis of plant-related materials, including the soil and root interface (Aylmore, 1993; Heeraman et al., 1997), fruit development (Verboven et al., 2008), paleobotanical anatomy (DeVore et al., 2006), and the anatomy of wood and vascular tissue (Stuppy et al., 2003; Maeda & Miyake, 2009). Fromm et al. (2001) and Steppe et al. (2004) successfully used HRCT to study wood density; however the image resolution was insufficient for analyzing intervessel connections. Recent advances in synchrotron HRCT technology have improved image resolution and signal to noise ratio sufficiently so that vessel networks can be visualized to explore the implications of network organization. The analytical potential of HRCT in exploring xylem organization is even greater than its 3D visualization capabilities, as intervessel connections can be assigned 3D coordinates that can be exported and used in model simulations.