Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Energy News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



FARM NEWS
Robotic device tracks plant growth at the cellular level
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Dec 06, 2017


Researcher Sarah Robinson setting up ACME in the lab.

Plant scientists have a new tool in their toolkit. The automated confocal micro-extensometer (ACME) - developed by a team of researchers in Europe and the US - allows scientists to measure spatial variation in the mechanical properties of plant cells with unprecedented accuracy.

Plant cell growth is limited by the mechanical properties of the surrounding cell wall. Cell walls in the growing parts of a plant are thought to be much more extensible (stretchy) than those in mature parts, and these local differences in cell wall extensibility affect the overall shape of the plant.

Until now, it was not possible to measure cell wall extensibility in the direction of growth in living plants. A team of researchers led by Cris Kuhlemeier of the Institute of Plant Sciences at the University of Bern in Switzerland created a system that does just that.

"Intuitively the simplest way to do this is to stretch the plant and look at how much each cell stretches," explains first author Sarah Robinson. Using this principle, the researchers cobbled together a robotic pipeline that combines custom and commercially available parts.

They designed a specialized device that holds plants in place without damaging them and then stretches them under a defined pull. The device, which is mounted on a microscope, is controlled by software that allows the user to specify the duration and degree of stretching.

High-resolution images of the plant are taken during stretching, and custom-built software uses the images to compute mechanical properties in different regions of the plant. The authors named the device ACME after the fictitious corporation featured in the Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoons, because they were inspired by the tireless efforts of Wile E. Coyote. "Thankfully, in the end, we were more successful, but some of our prototypes were less elegant and involved a lot of scotch tape," jokes Sarah.

Using ACME, the authors demonstrated that cells in the stems of seedlings exhibit a gradient of mechanical properties in the presence of the plant growth hormone gibberellic acid. Furthermore, they used their versatile system to show that stretching induces irreversible increases in cell length in living plant cells, but that the increases in cell length are partially reversed in dead plant tissues once stretching stops.

While ACME was built to accommodate small samples - the specimen used in this study was a tiny weed known as thale cress - it can readily be adapted for use with larger samples and different imaging systems.

The team has made all the information needed to create this system freely available, so that plant scientists in other labs can use ACME in their own research. "ACME has many applications and scope for future use," says Sarah Robinson. For instance, this device can help us understand the mechanisms by which various inputs and treatments alter plant growth at the cellular level.

Furthermore, it might elucidate conditions and treatments that promote plant cell wall extensibility, and thus enhance plant growth at the cellular level. Given the escalating demands for biomass production, this is a very exciting prospect.

Research paper

FARM NEWS
UN dishes up prickly pear cactus in answer to food security
Rome (AFP) Nov 30, 2017
The prickly pear cactus, considered an essential food in Mexico, could be the answer to much of the world's food security woes, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said Thursday. "While most cacti are inedible, the Opuntia species has much to offer, especially if treated like a crop rather than a weed run wild," the FAO said in a statement. The UN organisation - which conve ... read more

Related Links
American Society of Plant Biologists
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

FARM NEWS
First global maps of traits that drive vegetation growth

French NGO helps African mums shake off AIDS stigma

UK-built satellite shines first light on air pollution

China launches remote sensing satellites in multiple launches

FARM NEWS
DARPA digging for ideas to revolutionize subterranean mapping

China's GPS network Beidou joins global rescue data network

Galileo quartet fuelled and ready to fly

China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System Expands Into a Global Network

FARM NEWS
NASA Survey Technique Estimates Congo Forest's Carbon

Greenpeace slams Indonesia palm oil industry on deforestation

Amazon's recovery from forest losses limited by climate change

Poland says compliant with EU court order against ancient forest logging

FARM NEWS
Breakthrough process for directly converting methane to methanol

Convert methane to hydrogen without forming carbon dioxide at low-cost

Brazilian ethanol can replace 13 percent of global crude oil consumption

The water world of ancient photosynthetic organisms

FARM NEWS
Gore Mountain ski resort completes massive solar farm

Windows of opportunity: Solar cell with improved transparency

Burkina, France launch W.Africa's biggest solar plant

NREL develops switchable solar window

FARM NEWS
U.S. wind turbines getting taller and more efficient

New wind farm in service off the British coast

End tax credits for wind energy, Tennessee Republican says

New York sets high bar for wind energy

FARM NEWS
Battle lines drawn over coal at UN climate talks

Anti-coal drive at UN climate talks stalked by pro-coal White House

Protest at open-pit coal mine near Bonn ahead of UN climate talks

Coal still holds a slight edge as U.S. power source

FARM NEWS
Chinese teacher used needles to 'discipline' children: police

Tibetan monk self-immolates in China: campaigners

Shanghai schools fly the flag for China's next generation

Chinese general kills himself after facing graft probe




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement