Image of the month - Barley Root

Barley root

A cross section of a grass (barley) root showing cellular resolution using the back-scattered signal on the FEI Quanta ESEM (Bio21 institute Advanced Microscopy Facility).

Roots are essential for plant growth and rhizospere dynamics influencing host symbiont and pathogen interactions as well as soil structure. Roots develop from a finely orchestrated series of cell divisions arising from the quiescent centre (“stem cells”) at the root apex. At cell division, a cell wall is laid down to give the plant structure and strength. The sub-cellular details involved in cell wall development and biosynthesis are still being dissected. Until recently whole plant tissues have only been viewed at the resolution at the light microscope and this work using the scanning electron microscope will allow the interactions of cell components to be observed in many growing cells simultaneously and illuminate interactions and patterns that have not been previously observed.

Authors: Dr Eric Hanssen (Bio21 Advanced Microscopy Facility and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) and  Dr Allison Van De Meene (Bioscience and  Plant Cell Wall ARC Center of Excellence)