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Non-invasive imaging of roots with high resolution X-ray micro-tomography

Gregory, P. J., Hutchison, D. J., Read, D. B., Jenneson, P. M., Gilboy, W. B. and Morton, E. J. (2003) Non-invasive imaging of roots with high resolution X-ray micro-tomography. Plant and Soil, 255 (1). pp. 351-359. ISSN 0032-079X

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ray micro-tomography is a well-established technique for non-invasive imaging and evaluation of heterogeneous materials. An inexpensive X-ray micro-tomography system has been designed and built for the specific purposes of examining root growth and root/soil interactions. The system uses a silver target X-ray source with a focal spot diameter of 80 mum, an X-ray image intensifier with a sampling aperture of about 100 mum, and a sample with a diameter of 25 mm. Pre-germinated wheat and rape seeds were grown for up to 8-10 days in plastic containers in a sandy loam soil sieved to < 250 &mu;m, and imaged with the X-ray system at regular intervals. The quality of 3 D image obtained was good allowing the development and growth of both root axes and some first-order laterals to be observed. The satisfactory discrimination between soil and roots enabled measurements of root diameter (wheat values were 0.48-1.22 mm) in individual tomographic slices and, by tracking from slice to slice, root lengths were also measured. The measurements obtained were generally within 10% of those obtained from destructive samples measured manually and with a flat-bed scanner. Further developments of the system will allow more detailed examination of the root: soil interface.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3577
Uncontrolled Keywords:imaging root length tomography wheat X-ray imaging COMPUTER-ASSISTED TOMOGRAPHY SOIL-WATER CONTENT PLANT-ROOTS GROWTH
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