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Biophys J. 2002 Jan;82(1 Pt 1):481-92.

Functional imaging of plants: a nuclear magnetic resonance study of a cucumber plant.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biophysics, Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, Dreijenlaan 3, 6703 HA Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to study transients of biophysical parameters in a cucumber plant in response to environmental changes. Detailed flow imaging experiments showed the location of xylem and phloem in the stem and the response of the following flow characteristics to the imposed environmental changes: the total amount of water, the amount of stationary and flowing water, the linear velocity of the flowing water, and the volume flow. The total measured volume flow through the plant stem was in good agreement with the independently measured water uptake by the roots. A separate analysis of the flow characteristics for two vascular bundles revealed that changes in volume flow of the xylem sap were accounted for by a change in linear-flow velocities in the xylem vessels. Multiple-spin echo experiments revealed two water fractions for different tissues in the plant stem; the spin-spin relaxation time of the larger fraction of parenchyma tissue in the center of the stem and the vascular tissue was down by 17% in the period after cooling the roots of the plant. This could point to an increased water permeability of the tonoplast membrane of the observed cells in this period of quick recovery from severe water loss.

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