Transparent soil for imaging the rhizosphere

Helen F. Downie, Nicola Holden, Wilfred Otten, Andrew J. Spiers, Tracy A. Valentine, Lionel X. Dupuy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Understanding of soil processes is essential for addressing the global issues of food security, disease transmission and climate change. However, techniques for observing soil biology are lacking. We present a heterogeneous, porous, transparent substrate for in situ 3D imaging of living plants and root-associated microorganisms using particles of the transparent polymer, Nafion, and a solution with matching optical properties. Minerals and fluorescent dyes were adsorbed onto the Nafion particles for nutrient supply and imaging of pore size and geometry. Plant growth in transparent soil was similar to that in soil. We imaged colonization of lettuce roots by the human bacterial pathogen Escherichia coli O157:H7 showing micro-colony development. Micro-colonies may contribute to bacterial survival in soil. Transparent soil has applications in root biology, crop genetics and soil microbiology.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere44276
Number of pages6
JournalPLoS One
Volume7
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

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Rhizosphere
rhizosphere
Soil
image analysis
soil biology
Soils
Imaging techniques
soil
Soil Microbiology
fluorescent dyes
optical properties
disease transmission
Escherichia coli O157
soil treatment
food security
lettuce
Lettuce
polymers
Plant Roots
Food Supply

Cite this

Downie, H. F., Holden, N., Otten, W., Spiers, A. J., Valentine, T. A., & Dupuy, L. X. (2012). Transparent soil for imaging the rhizosphere. PLoS One, 7(9), [e44276]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0044276
Downie, Helen F. ; Holden, Nicola ; Otten, Wilfred ; Spiers, Andrew J. ; Valentine, Tracy A. ; Dupuy, Lionel X. / Transparent soil for imaging the rhizosphere. In: PLoS One. 2012 ; Vol. 7, No. 9.
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Downie, HF, Holden, N, Otten, W, Spiers, AJ, Valentine, TA & Dupuy, LX 2012, 'Transparent soil for imaging the rhizosphere', PLoS One, vol. 7, no. 9, e44276. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0044276

Transparent soil for imaging the rhizosphere. / Downie, Helen F.; Holden, Nicola; Otten, Wilfred; Spiers, Andrew J.; Valentine, Tracy A.; Dupuy, Lionel X.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 7, No. 9, e44276, 09.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Otten, Wilfred

AU - Spiers, Andrew J.

AU - Valentine, Tracy A.

AU - Dupuy, Lionel X.

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AB - Understanding of soil processes is essential for addressing the global issues of food security, disease transmission and climate change. However, techniques for observing soil biology are lacking. We present a heterogeneous, porous, transparent substrate for in situ 3D imaging of living plants and root-associated microorganisms using particles of the transparent polymer, Nafion, and a solution with matching optical properties. Minerals and fluorescent dyes were adsorbed onto the Nafion particles for nutrient supply and imaging of pore size and geometry. Plant growth in transparent soil was similar to that in soil. We imaged colonization of lettuce roots by the human bacterial pathogen Escherichia coli O157:H7 showing micro-colony development. Micro-colonies may contribute to bacterial survival in soil. Transparent soil has applications in root biology, crop genetics and soil microbiology.

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Downie HF, Holden N, Otten W, Spiers AJ, Valentine TA, Dupuy LX. Transparent soil for imaging the rhizosphere. PLoS One. 2012 Sep;7(9). e44276. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0044276