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Transparent soils

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.Lettuce roots grown in partially saturated (left) and saturated (right) transparent soil. It is the saturation of the soil with a water based solution that created transparency.

We are developing new heterogeneous, porous, transparent substrates 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. We also use minerals and fluorescent dyes that are adsorbed onto the Nafion particles for nutrient supply and imaging of pore size and geometry.

Results show that plantImage of an Arabidopsis root grown in transparent soil imaged with Confocal Laser Scaning Miicroscope growth in transparent soil was similar to that in soil. We have used the system to imaged the root of numerous plants (lettuce, barley, tobacco, Arabidopsis) and different types of micro-organisms (E. coliPseudamonas). 

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Printed from /research/departments/ecological-sciences/our-science/plant-soil-ecology/plant-systems-modelling/transparent-soils on 25/02/24 05:33:25 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.