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Magn Reson Imaging. 2001 Dec;19(10):1311-22.

Magnetic resonance imaging of molecular transport in living morning glory stems.

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Università di Milano, Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biomediche, Milano, Italy.


MRI was applied to investigate the transport pathways in Morning Glory plant stems. The study was carried out on living plants without affecting their integrity. The architecture of a dicotyledonous plant was deeply characterized: the root system structure and the vascular bundle location were identified, the presence of central voids caused by cell maturation and loss were observed in the stem. Molecular transport components were recognized, by observing the concentration profile of a tracer, which changed with time after its absorption by the plant roots. MRI analysis revealed the presence of an axial transport as the progress of the tracer front through the vascular bundles and a radial molecular transport from the vascular bundles toward the surface of the stem. As a result, the tracer molecular transport formed the parabolic tracer front (PTF). A model was built up through the analysis of the PTF that consisted of an axial front at the peak position and a radial front at the width of the parabolic tail. PTF analysis revealed differences between the tracer transport velocities in the axial and the radial directions in the plant stem. The model revealed that the width of the parabolic tail reflected the magnitudes of diffusion and permeation of the tracer in the plant stem.

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