Title: Synchrotron Radiation Sheds Fresh Light on Plant Research: the Use of Powerful Spectroscopy and Imaging Techniques to Probe Structure and Composition


Synchrotrons are powerful electron accelerators that generate extremely bright radiation beams ranging in energies from infrared to soft and hard X-rays. Synchrotron light sources has emerged as a powerful tool in material, environmental and biomedical sciences in the last few decades. Synchrotron based fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray absorption and fluorescence techniques, two and three dimensional imaging techniques offer the possibility of combining nanometer to micrometer resolution structural information with precise chemical data that is often not possible with conventional methodologies (Fig.1). Despite some challenges in sample preparation, the combination of extremely high brightness, polarization and nanosecond pulse properties of synchrotron light offer great advantages over conventional spectroscopic and imaging tools.

Modern synchrotron techniques and experimental methodologies are constantly advancing the applications of synchrotron light in unprecedented ways in several areas of plant sciences such as ultrafast kinetics of biochemical reactions [2], mineral uptake, transport and accumulation [2], and dynamics of cell wall structure and composition during environmental stress [3].  The potential for harnessing synchrotron technologies for plant stress studies, as well as phenotyping projects, will be presented.

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