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David Livingston
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Evaluation and improvement of cereal germplasm for winter hardiness

David Livingston, Research Agronomist
Tan Tuong, Plant Science Research Technician

The focus of my lab is improving the winter hardiness of plants with an emphasis on discovering why oat is the least hardy winter cereal.

Despite living in a 3D world, researchers are usually limited to 2D observations of experimental samples. However, we have developed a technique to build 3D volumes of cereal crowns from 2D, pixel-based images using a desktop computer and off-the-shelf-software. This technique provides information that is not available with 2D observations.

Fig. 1.  3D video reconstruction of Wintok oat after freezing

This technique allowed us to visualize the freeze-response (a change in cellular chemistry, colored orange in the video) as a sphere in the center of the crown.  In addition,  this freeze response is more scattered throughout the crown of the non-hardy cultivar.  Both cultivars were frozen at their respective LT50 temperatures. 

Fig. 2.  Anaglyph (3D) video of frozen wheat plants.

We have also used this technique to image the portal track of normal and diseased dog livers and to visualize the interface of necrotic and living tissue in malignant woodchuck tumors.

The technique cannot replace the use of non-invasive optical sectioning that confers a fourth temporal dimension to imaging such as in Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy, MRI, and PET/CT. However, this digital-clearing technique provides an inexpensive and relatively simple way to construct pixel-based 3D volumes by viewing actual internal structures without tracing contours.

For more information:

Livingston, D.P., III, T.D. Tuong, S.R.V.Gadi, C.H. Haigler, R.S. Gelman, J.M. Cullen. 2010.  3D volumes constructed from pixel-based images by digitally clearing plant and animal tissue. Journal of Microscopy. On-line Early.

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Fig. 2.

Fig. 3

Livingston, D.P., III, T.D. Tuong, C.H. Haigler, U. Avci, S.P. Tallury.  2009.  Rapid microwave processing of winter cereals for histology allows identification of separate zones of freezing injury in the crown.  Crop Science 49:1837-1842.

Fig. 3.

Livingston, DP III, EM. Herman, R Premakumar, SP Tallury. 2007. Using Arabidopsis thalianaas a model to subzero acclimation in small grains. Cryobiology 54:154-163.

Livingston DP, SP Tallury, SA Owens, JD Livingston, R Premakumar. 2006. Freezing in non-acclimated oats: thermal response and histological observations of crowns during recovery. Canadian Journal of Botany 84:199-210.

Livingston, DP, SP Tallury, R Premakumar, S Owens and CR Olien. 2005. Changes in the histology of cold hardened oat crowns during recovery from freezing. Crop Science 45:1545-1558.