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J Microsc. 2004 Jan;213(1):76-80.

An easy and versatile embedding method for transverse sections.

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Department of Plant Systems Biology, Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), Ghent University, Technologiepark 927, B-9052 Gent, Belgium.


In several research areas, transverse sections are indispensable for studying structural aspects of specimens. However, the oriented embedding of small cylindrical samples can become problematic, especially when transverse sections at right angles to the main axis of the object are desired. Here, we describe an easy and low-cost technique for oriented embedding of small (psi < 500 micro m) as well as of larger specimens (psi > 500 micro m). The usefulness of the technique is demonstrated for roots and stamens of Arabidopsis thaliana and for adventitious roots of Asplenium demerkense, as examples of small and larger cylindrical samples, respectively. Furthermore, several types of resin (glycol methacrylate, epoxy and acrylic resins) were successfully tested, showing the applicability of the technique for light and electron microscopy and for immunolocalizations. In conclusion, the principle of the technique can be extended to several resins and a wide variety of specimen types, such as stems, leaves and textile fibres. The originality of the technique lies in its simplicity combined with its high efficiency to produce well-oriented transverse sections.

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