Plant Biotechnology
Online ISSN : 1347-6114
Print ISSN : 1342-4580
ISSN-L : 1342-4580
Short Communications
Visualization of Toyoura sand-grown plant roots by X-ray computer tomography
Yuki YoshidaTetsuya AritaJun OtaniShinichiro Sawa
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2020 Volume 37 Issue 4 Pages 481-484


Plants establish their root system as a three-dimensional structure, which is then used to explore the soil to absorb resources and provide mechanical anchorage. Simplified two-dimensional growth systems, such as agar plates, have been used to study various aspects of plant root biology. However, it remains challenging to study the more realistic three-dimensional structure and function of roots hidden in opaque soil. Here, we optimized X-ray computer tomography (CT)-based visualization of an intact root system by using Toyoura sand, a standard silica sand used in geotechnology research, as a growth substrate. Distinct X-ray attenuation densities of root tissue and Toyoura sand enabled clear image segmentation of the CT data. Sorghum grew especially vigorously in Toyoura sand and it could be used as a model for analyzing root structure optimization in response to mechanical obstacles. The use of Toyoura sand has the potential to link plant root biology and geotechnology applications.

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© 2020 Japanese Society for Plant Biotechnology
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