Researchers watch seeds in 3-D and discover an unknown air path

was sequenced. "This approach is to our knowledge the only imaging technique with the penetration capacity and imaged field size suited for an investigation at sub-micrometer resolution of an optically opaque object the size of a seed" explains Peter Cloetens, first author of the paper and scientist at the ESRF. It is applied for the first time to an autonomous living system, observed without object destruction, without staining, in air, and at room temperature.

The discovery of a void network opens the field of new research linking embryonic photosynthesis and the structure of the mature seed, in relation to seed quality, i. e. the capacity and vigour of germination. "The method could now be applied to study the seed structure of mutant plants that are deficient in germination and thus to link the mutation of one gene to changes in seed structure", explains Silva Lerbs-Mache.


Contact: Montserrat Capellas
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility

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