Jeol JEM 1400 transmission electron microscope

The facility is currently equipped with a Jeol JEM-1400 machine. This 120kV machine is fitted with a high-contrast pole-piece for analysis of biological samples and supplied with a bottom mounted Gatan Orius CCD camera (4008 x 2672 pixels). The CCD camera, which can operate at real-time viewing speeds, allows rapid and cheap image acquisition, automation of many procedures (focusing, stigmation, alignment, exposure setting) and auto-montaging.

Leica EM AFS2 freeze substitution device

The facility has a Leica EM AFS2/FSP automatic freeze substitution device. This machine is capable of freeze substitution and progressive lowering of temperature techniques as well as allowing low temperature embedding and polymerisation of resins. Previously at the institute, embedding and polymerisation was done at high temperature, so this machine allows adoption of techniques that better preserve immunogenicity of samples for immunogold labelling studies. High pressure freezing (HPF) followed by freeze substitution is considered the optimum method for sample preservation. The James Hutton Institute does not have its own HPF device, but can access the Leica EM-PACT of Dundee University’s Centre for High Resolution Imaging and Processing in Cell and Molecular Biology (CHIPs).

Scanning electron microscope studies are performed through access to a field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) and environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) housed within the CHIPs facility.

In the past much of the work within electron microscopy was primarily focused on the analysis of plant viruses and their interactions with host plants. Although the unit still carries out work on plant viruses, it now has a broader remit to provide electron microscope support to projects across the Institute.