Phloem pp 449-457 | Cite as

Measurement of Electropotential Waves in Intact Sieve Elements Using Aphids as Bioelectrodes

  • Alexandra C. U. FurchEmail author
  • Matthias R. Zimmermann
  • Torsten Will
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2014)


Electropotential waves (EPWs) are thought to transmit sudden and profound physiological changes between plant organs. The recording of EPWs can be performed via extracellular or intracellular probes. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. Since the phloem is responsible for long distance transport of the most forms of EPWs, the direct measurement in sieve elements is preferable. The conductance using glass microelectrodes inserted into free lying sieve elements is described in Chapter  34. In this chapter the measurement of EPWs by using aphids as bioelectrodes is described in detail.

The electrical penetration graph technique (EPG) takes advantage of the flexible mouthparts (stylet) of aphids, which specifically penetrate into sieve elements. The use of aphids as bioelectrodes enables multiple electrode recordings and long-distance observations of EPWs. Importantly, this method allows for noninvasive, intracellular measurements.

Key words

Aphid Bioelectrode EPW EPG Intact plants Membrane potential Sieve elements Phloem signaling 



This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (grant FU969/2-1 to ACUF and MRZ).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra C. U. Furch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthias R. Zimmermann
    • 1
  • Torsten Will
    • 2
  1. 1.Matthias Schleiden Institute of Genetics, Bioinformatics and Molecular Botany, Faculty of Biological ScienceFriedrich-Schiller-University JenaJenaGermany
  2. 2.Julius Kuehn-Institute (JKI), Federal Research Centre for Cultivated PlantsInstitute for Resistance Research and Stress ToleranceQuedlinburgGermany

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