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      Quantitative 3D Analysis of Plant Roots Growing in Soil Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

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          Abstract

          Precise measurements of root system architecture traits are an important requirement for plant phenotyping. Most of the current methods for analyzing root growth require either artificial growing conditions (e.g. hydroponics), are severely restricted in the fraction of roots detectable (e.g. rhizotrons), or are destructive (e.g. soil coring). On the other hand, modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are noninvasive and allow high-quality three-dimensional imaging of roots in soil. Here, we present a plant root imaging and analysis pipeline using MRI together with an advanced image visualization and analysis software toolbox named NMRooting. Pots up to 117 mm in diameter and 800 mm in height can be measured with the 4.7 T MRI instrument used here. For 1.5 l pots (81 mm diameter, 300 mm high), a fully automated system was developed enabling measurement of up to 18 pots per day. The most important root traits that can be nondestructively monitored over time are root mass, length, diameter, tip number, and growth angles (in two-dimensional polar coordinates) and spatial distribution. Various validation measurements for these traits were performed, showing that roots down to a diameter range between 200 μm and 300 μm can be quantitatively measured. Root fresh weight correlates linearly with root mass determined by MRI. We demonstrate the capabilities of MRI and the dedicated imaging pipeline in experimental series performed on soil-grown maize (Zea mays) and barley (Hordeum vulgare) plants.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Plant Physiol.
          Plant physiology
          1532-2548
          0032-0889
          Mar 2016
          : 170
          : 3
          Affiliations
          [1 ] IBG-2: Plant Sciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany (D.v.D, R.M., J.K., J.A.P., D.P., J.B., U.S., S.J.). d.van.dusschoten@fz-juelich.de.
          [2 ] IBG-2: Plant Sciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany (D.v.D, R.M., J.K., J.A.P., D.P., J.B., U.S., S.J.).
          Article
          pp.15.01388
          10.1104/pp.15.01388
          26729797
          © 2016 American Society of Plant Biologists. All Rights Reserved.

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