Scientists at the University of Nottingham have unveiled a new method that monitors the movement of fluids inside plants. This will allow the study of human cells in the future.
The researchers explained that the absorption of water inside the roots without damaging the sample is almost impossible to observe. But this would give an idea of the movement of fluids in the tissues and cells of organisms.
“To observe the absorption of water by living plants without damaging them, we applied a sensitive laser-based optical microscopy technique to see the movement of water inside living roots non-invasively. This has never been done before, ”the researchers noted.
They noted that at the heart of the process by which plants become productive is how well they can absorb and control fluids. Water plays an important role as a solvent for nutrients, minerals and other biomolecules in plant tissues. Scientists have developed a way to observe this process at the level of individual cells. They can now see the water rise up inside the root and move through the rest of the plants and trees.
Using a gentle laser, a new imaging technology based on the Nobel Prize-winning Raman spectroscopy method, the researchers measured the movement of water up the root system at the cellular level and ran a mathematical model to explain and quantify this process.
The researchers used “heavy” water, deuterium oxide, which contains an extra neutron in the nucleus of each hydrogen atom. By scanning a line across the root with a laser while the plant was sawing, water could be seen moving through the tip of the root.
In developing the method, the researchers focused on plant cells, which are about 10 times larger than human cells and therefore easier to observe. The research team is now transferring these same techniques to human cells in order to observe the exact same processes on an even smaller scale.