Scanning Electron Microscopy of the Phloem
In vascular plants, sugars are transported through the phloem tissue from areas of production, the leaves, to heterotrophic organs, where they are needed for growth and storage. Inside the phloem, transport takes place in specialized cells called sieve elements. Sieve elements are connected end-to-end by sieve plates to form a sieve tube. Sieve plates have small perforations called sieve pores. Transport of sugars is pushed through the tubes, plates, and pores by osmotic potential differences in the plant. Physical constraints govern the speed and volume of sugar flow through this tube system. Understanding the phloem requires precise anatomical measurements to model the effect of sieve element physical parameters on flow. Presented is a detailed method to prepare phloem tissue for scanning electron microscopy to obtain large quantities of high-resolution data of the plants sugar transport tissue.
Key wordsPhloem anatomy Sieve elements Sieve plate Sieve pore Sample preparation
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