First note of how plants “drink” water in real time

First note of how plants “drink” water in real time

Madrid, 3 years ago. (European Press) –

Scientists from University of Nottingham They were first able to find a way to observe how plant roots absorb and circulate water at the molecular level.

discovery, Published in Nature Communications, It can help identify the types of crops that are most resistant to droughts and floods.

It was not being able to observe the water absorption inside the roots, without damaging the sample A major obstacle for researchers seeking to understand the movement of fluids in living plant cells and tissues.

Study leader Dr. Kevin Webb from the Optics and Photonics Research Group explains: “To monitor water uptake in living plants without damaging them, we applied a sensitive laser-based optical microscopy technique to learn the movement of water within living organisms. Roots in a passive manner, What has not been done before.

“The process by which plants can thrive and become productive crops depends primarily on how well they are able to absorb water and how well they are able to handle this process. Water plays an essential role as a solvent for nutrients, minerals and other biomolecules in plant tissues. We have developed a method that allows us to monitor this process. at the level of individual cells. We can not only see the water rising inside the root, but also where and how it travels.

“Feeding a growing world population is already a problem. Climate change is causing significant changes in the pattern and density of waterfalls on the planet, causing problems to grow crops in areas affected by floods or droughts. Choose plants that are best adapted to stress, The goal is to increase global food productivity by understanding and using the plant species with the best chances of survival and which can be most productive in any environment, No matter how dry or wet it is.”

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For the study, water transport measurements were made in the roots of Arabidopsis thaliana, It is a “model plant” for scientistsThey can easily be genetically manipulated to interfere with basic processes such as water absorption.

Using a soft laser, the new imaging technique, based on the Nobel Prize-winning Raman scattering technique, allowed the researchers to measure water traveling through the Arabidopsis root system at the cellular level and run a mathematical model to explain and quantify this.

The researchers used “heavy” water (deuterium oxide or D2O), which has an extra neutron in the nucleus of each hydrogen atom. By scanning the laser at a line running through the root while the plant drank, it was possible to see “heavy” water running through the root tip.

In Arabidopsis genetically modified to influence its water uptake, these measurements, along with the mathematical model, revealed a significant water barrier within the root. This confirmed for the first time that water uptake is restricted within the central tissues of the root, within which the water vessels are located.

co-director, Malcolm Bennett, professor of plant sciences at the university It is a statement: “This innovative technology is a real game-changer in botany, allowing researchers to visualize the movement of water in a single cell and at a second scale within living plant tissues for a very short time. This promises to help us address important questions such as: How do plants “perceive” water availability? Answers to this question are necessary To design future crops that are better adapted to the challenges we face with changing climate and changing weather patterns.”

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During the development of the method, the research initially focused on plant cells, which are about 10 times the size of human cells and are therefore more easily observable. The research team is currently translating these same methods into human cells to understand exactly the same types of processes on a smaller scale.

As with plants, there are tissues in the human body that are responsible for processing water, which is critical to its function. Transparent eye tissues, for example, can suffer from fluid processing diseases including cataracts; Macular degeneration and glaucoma. In the future, New Raman imaging technology could become a valuable tool for healthcare screening and monitoring.

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